MEDFORD, Ore. — ACCESS hosted Hunger Action Day on Friday, highlighting the importance of the fight against food insecurity and demonstrating how people in the community can help.
ACCESS is Jackson County's regional food bank, operating 18 local food pantries. According to the organization, one in every five Jackson County residents are food insecure, and one in three of those people are children. In 2020 alone, ACCESS provided 5.5 million pounds of food to local residents.
September is Hunger Action Month, a nationwide effort to raise awareness of food insecurity in local communities.
“Hunger Action Month not only highlights the need that is out there, it also gives us the opportunity to show how involved our community is year-round as we work together to address food insecurity,” explains Marcee Champion, Director of Food Programs at ACCESS.
Throughout the month of September, ACCESS is asking the community to help by making donations. That includes both food donations and money — and, for the duration of September, Airport Buick GMC is matching up to $10,000 in donations made to ACCESS. The organization says that they can provide four meals for every $1 donated, and the match opportunity means that they can expand this to eight meals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how meals are distributed in Jackson County, though some things are getting back to relative normalcy.
"Because of COVID, many of our pantries still have the pre-packed boxes. Some of them are going back to more of a shopping-style, or more of a blend of a shopping-style," said Champion. The format can depend on the pantry location, Champion explained.
Every year around this time, ACCESS gets weekly donations of pears from Harry & David to pass on to those in need. Champion said that the current batch was bagged up by a group of volunteers from Key Bank.
“I want to give a huge thank you to our incredibly dedicated volunteers, remarkably generous donors, and committed community partners," Champion said. "Without you, we would be lost and, more importantly, families would go hungry. Thank you for all you do!”
If you or someone you know is looking for more information about food assistance, click here to learn more or call ACCESS at 541-779-6691.