PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -- The Covid-19 pandemic and wildfires across the state of Oregon has sent many people looking for help when it comes to putting food on the table. The Oregon Food Bank says the need has doubled that what they typically see.
“We understand from Oregon State University and from our own experience that hunger has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic,” Oregon Food Bank CEO Susannah Morgan said.
The organization estimates that one in four people are struggling to feed themselves or their family.
“It is heartbreaking, it is so rending to thing that so many of our neighbors and ourselves are at such straights,” Morgan said.
She adds it is important to look at the root cause of why people are turning to the food bank.
“We are also thinking about why does someone miss a meal, and the root cause of poverty,” Morgan said.
According to the Oregon Center for Public Policy, in 2018 one in 10 Oregonians lived in poverty, that’s roughly 516,000 people. Of that forty percent live in deep poverty. Those stats are troubling for people like Morgan who are working to see a decrease in the numbers.
“Poverty itself has root causes, systemic inequities like racism, this is why if your family is black or brown you are more than two time as likely to be hungry,” Morgan said.
She says right now, more than ever it is going to take civic engagement like voting to spark change in society to address the root causes of poverty and ending hunger in the state.
“In order to address them food won’t solve that, so we have to look systemically at how we organize society so that everyone can be included and everyone can prosper,” Morgan said.