The Oregon Food Pantry is holding an emergency food distribution event on July 31 from 1-3 p.m. at Beck-Kiwanis Park in Ontario. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

The Oregon Food Bank is hosting an emergency food distribution event in Ontario on Friday, July 31, to help meet the increased need for food due to the Covid pandemic.

Food boxes including dry, frozen and fresh food will be given to individuals and families at the event from 1-3 p.m. — while supplies last — at the Beck-Kiwanis Park, according to the event’s flier. Each household is allowed one box.

“Inside each box, we include recipes that include some of the food items being distributed as well as other local resources for food and other assistance,” said Lindsay Grosvenor, local coordinator of the Ontario-based Nutrition Oregon Campaign Hub.

Due to Covid, drive-thru and curbside pick-up will be available along with walk-ups, said Grosvenor, and volunteers are required to wear masks and use hand sanitizer.

To qualify for a food box, individuals or families must live in Oregon, but “ID, proof of residency or income” are not required, said Grosvenor. The event extends to those outside of Malheur County as long as they have an Oregon address.

But to expedite the check-in process, individuals or families should bring a piece of mail addressed to them or a Link2Feed card, which is a digital ID card issued to those who use food assistance programs, Grosvenor said.

Free transportation and delivery are also being provided through Snake River Transit-Malheur Express, but rides and deliveries must be scheduled by calling 541-881-0000 at least 24 hours in advance of the event. Deliveries are being offered for those within a 30-mile radius of the event, and someone must be present when delivery is made.

For those outside of the 30-mile radius, deliveries and transportation will be handled on a case-by-case basis, said Grosvenor, as Malheur Express “is willing to do some delivery outside” the 30-mile radius “as long as arrangements are made the day ahead.”

Grosvenor said the July 31 food distribution event is its third one over the past two months “due to the shift in local food pantry’s hours.” The distribution events have also served as “an emergency preparedness exercise” in case there is a need to distribute emergency food in large amounts.

“Our local Nutrition Oregon Campaign leadership team and the Oregon Food Bank Southeast Oregon services collaborated with several organizations in Ontario to help increase the food bank’s capacity to meet the increasing demand for food in light of the pandemic,” said Grosvenor.

News tip? Contact reporter Bailey Lewis at [email protected]

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