PORTLAND -- For thousands of families across Oregon and Southwest Washington, this Thanksgiving will be more difficult financially because of a change in the federal food stamp program.
On Nov. 1, the 2009 Recovery Act's temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutritional Program (SNAP) expired.
That means, on average, a family of four will receive $36 dollars less in food stamps each month.
About 21 percent of Oregon residents are enrolled in SNAP, one of the highest participation rates in the country. This month, more than 850,000 Oregonians will see a reduction in food stamp benefits.
"The need is really ramping up," said Kyle Camberg, Executive Director of the Portland Police Bureau's Sunshine Division.
Camberg said in October, even before the cuts kicked in, they experienced a record 19 percent increase in need.
"We've seen lines out the door every morning for the last few weeks that, frankly, we've never seen before," said Camberg.
At the Oregon Food Bank, volunteers spent hours sorting perishable foods like frozen meats and fresh produce. They'll be distributed to 21 regional food banks across the state.
Collectively, the Oregon Food bank helps feed 270,000 people a month across Oregon and Southwest Washington, and 800,000 different people a year. That’s one in five Oregonians.
"That means chances are, you know somebody and I know somebody who is struggling to feed their families," said Susanna Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of Oregon Food Bank.
Back at The Sunshine Division, volunteers from Zupan's Market spent the day packing 400 Thanksgiving food boxes. All of them are already spoken for.
"Today we're asking people to support us now for the holidays, but really what it's going to do is help us in the coming year," said Camberg. "We have a saying around here and that is, 'Hunger isn't seasonal.'"
To make a donation to The Sunshine Division, click here.
To support the Oregon Food bank, click here.