PORTLAND, Oregon — September is Hunger Action Month and on Thursday Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon held a fundraiser in north Portland to support systems-level efforts to end hunger.
One facet of their work is an effort to change laws to allow immigrants to access federal nutrition programs regardless of their status.
“Something like going to a grocery store which a normal person would take for granted is huge for someone who doesn't have those resources," said Nel Taylor, co-executive director for Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “Being able to pick their own food, culturally appropriate food, food that doesn't make them sick is something that's so significant that most people just wouldn't really think about.”
As a teen Taylor was hungry and homeless and knows what it's like, which is why doing this work means so much.
“Now that I'm doing fundraising, it feels like it's come full circle,” said Taylor. “I used to ask people for money on the street and now I'm here asking other people for money to fund these programs that helped me when I was younger.”
The Oregon Food Bank reports that nearly 1 in 5 Oregonians have faced food insecurity. On Wednesday, they gave their annual State of Hunger Address.
One point of concern they shared is that many struggling with food insecurity are still recovering from the pandemic; and now their food budgets are further tightened by inflation and rising fuel costs.
“The cost of our groceries in our communities is up at least 10% overall,” said Susannah Morgan, CEO of the Oregon Food Bank. “This is happening at a time when lower-income households already spend more than a third of their budgets on food.”
Anyone looking for food assistance can find multiple resources by visiting Oregon Food Finder for assistance.