Governor Kate Brown announced Monday, April 13, that Oregon will provide $8 million to the Oregon Food Bank, filling an urgent need for Oregon families seeking food assistance during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The state will pay Oregon Food Bank weekly, as needed over the next eight weeks, to meet the increased demand. The state expects to receive a 75% reimbursement from FEMA, per the federal emergency declaration.
“In times of crisis, no Oregonian should need to wonder where they can find food for their family,” said Governor Brown. “I know many Oregonians, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs and incomes due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Oregon Food Bank Network is a vital resource for families in need.
“The organization is facing an increase in demand while they also address a significant decrease in food donations from commercial sources. This funding supports Oregon Food Bank's efforts to ensure resources remain available to Oregonians facing food insecurity — bridging the gap until additional food and funds from the federal CARES Act reach Oregon.”
The Oregon Food Bank Network — which includes 21 regional food banks and more than 1,400 food assistance sites around the state — has seen a dramatic increase in demand since March. At the same time, donations from food producers, manufacturers, and grocers – which typically represent a majority of the Oregon Food Bank’s in-kind donations – have decreased dramatically due to high demand, creating a significant strain on their ability to support some of Oregon’s most vulnerable populations.
"Hunger was a crisis before the pandemic – especially for communities of color, migrant and immigrant communities, trans communities, and single moms," said Susannah Morgan, Oregon Food Bank CEO. "We're grateful for the continued leadership of Governor Brown and our partnership with the state's emergency coordination center as we work together to address this crisis head-on."
Though this investment strongly positions the state's Food Bank Network to increase food availability in the coming weeks, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (often referred to as SNAP or food stamps) remains the state's first line of defense against hunger. Recent state and federal action eliminates many restrictions on SNAP eligibility and expands coverage. Application information and additional resources are available through the Oregon Department of Human Services.