SALEM, Ore. — Oregon will put $8 million toward the Oregon Food Bank in an affort to address rapidly rising food insecurity, according to an announcement from Governor Kate Brown on Monday.
“In times of crisis, no Oregonian should need to wonder where they can find food for their family,” said Governor Brown. “I know many Oregonians, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs and incomes due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Oregon Food Bank Network is a vital resource for families in need."
The state will be pay out weekly toward the Oregon Food Bank as needed over the next eight weeks, according to Brown's office. Oregon expects to receive a 75 percent reimbursement from FEMA due to the federal emergency declaration.
“The organization is facing an increase in demand while they also address a significant decrease in food donations from commercial sources," Governor Brown continued. "This funding supports Oregon Food Bank's efforts to ensure resources remain available to Oregonians facing food insecurity — bridging the gap until additional food and funds from the federal CARES Act reach Oregon.”
The Oregon Food Bank includes a network of 21 regional food banks and more than 1,400 food assistance sites around the state. Since March, the system has seen a "dramatic increase" in demand, Brown's office said. Meanwhile, the usual donations from food producers and grocers have fallen due to the increased strain on supply chains. Those donations generally account for the majority of Oregon Food Bank's in-kind intake.
"Hunger was a crisis before the pandemic – especially for communities of color, migrant and immigrant communities, trans communities, and single moms," said Susannah Morgan, Oregon Food Bank CEO. "We're grateful for the continued leadership of Governor Brown and our partnership with the state's emergency coordination center as we work together to address this crisis head-on."
Governor Brown's office said that the SNAP program is still the state's "first line of defense" against hunger, touting recent efforts to expand SNAP eligibility and benefits.