Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Hunger can affect numerous populations throughout Oregon and with growing numbers of people needing services, covering all the bases can be difficult. The Oregon Food Bank provides a resource guide titled "A Snapshot of Hunger in Our Communities", which provides some quick facts about who is needing help with food.

One issue is that ending hunger and homelessness isn't as simple as getting a job or a roof over someone's head. For some, having a job isn't enough to actually pay for all of the necessities in life. For others, getting a job can be difficult due to not having a permanent residence. And at the same time, issues like high food costs, high bills (including medical), and health all play into whether or not someone needs additional help.

One of my favorite blogs is written by a guy from the United States who has been living abroad for several years. He wrote a piece called "Britain Discovers Food Banks, Can't Decide If It Likes Them", which highlights Britain's attempt to deal with the food crisis currently happening. My favorite quote from this post is "For the first time since World War II, a significant number of Britons don't have enough to eat, and an even more significant number only afford processed junk food, the biscuits and TV dinners that are always cheaper, always more available, than fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats."

The reason why I love that quote is because it really highlights what seems to be a universal struggle with food. The cheaper and more available food tends to be the processed, usually canned food that isn't totally great for a person. One of the things I've noticed while working in the food pantry has been that while we offer fresh produce, there is a time limit on how long the produce lasts and while we might have large amounts of produce one day, there's no guarantee that we'll have fresh produce the next. With the canned foods we have, there is more flexibility of how long we can keep them on the shelves for people.

I mentioned in a previous post my experience going to the Oregon Food Bank and one of my jobs when I was there was to pick through plums and find some that were good. By that, I mean that there were a ton of plums in a big cardboard box that every agency was allowed to comb through and most of the plums had mold or weren't acceptable to give out. And I don't see this as a fault of the OFB or any food bank/pantry but rather the sad truth in regards to offering fresh produce.

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