Hunger in Oregon

A problem we cannot ignore

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are still learning more about what hunger and poverty look like now. Early projections from September 2021 had predicted that hunger was much worse than the period before the pandemic, with an estimated 1 in 4 Oregonians experiencing hunger, which would have doubled hunger.

As of a report released in October 2021, we have seen that that expected jump did not happen exactly as planned and as we can tell now, the food security rate has remained largely flat from the pre-pandemic period, with around 1 in 10 Oregonians experiencing food insecurity, according to this report from OSU.

The steady rate of food insecurity during a pandemic is a credit to the swift social supports, in a time when the economic hardship was undeniable. In response to the pandemic, SNAP benefits were increased, unemployment benefits were expanded, stimulus checks put money in peoples’ pockets, evictions were reduced and importantly, mutual and community aid stepped in to help individuals and families safe and resourced.

So many different factors contribute to ending hunger and doing so requires meaningfully addressing housing, employment, childcare, racism, experiences of state violence and marginalization and so much more.

The current status of hunger in Oregon

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Hunger is an equity issue

Hunger harms us all as a society, but it impacts some of us in Oregon far more than others.

Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon has long been committed to addressing economic inequality in order to accomplish our mission, and we point to poverty as one clear root cause of hunger. One in ten families in Oregon reports not consistently having the money to purchase enough nourishing food.

We know there are other root causes—even deeper and more complexly woven into the root structure of our society—like systemic racism and sexism.

Among those experiencing poverty some people are at far greater risk of hunger. Food insecurity disproportionately impacts communities of color, recent immigrants, families with children and particularly households led by single mothers, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community and people in rural areas of Oregon.

We simply won’t achieve our vision of a hunger-free Oregon, where everyone is healthy and thriving, without specifically focusing on preventing hunger for these groups of people.

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Ending hunger requires addressing root causes

In our pursuit of equity and justice, we reaffirm the founding declaration of the Oregon Hunger Task Force that “All Persons Have the Right to be Free from Hunger” and recommit to work on behalf of those disproportionately denied that right.

In developing our 2016-18 Strategic Plan, we heard from dozens of partners, volunteers and people (link to finding food security page) we serve about how to best increase food security over the next two years. The result is a clear set of objectives and a focus on three goals: pursuing equity, building the anti-hunger movement and strengthening the capacity of our organization.

There is a role for everyone!

Take action to end hunger by speaking up

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