Food insecurity: The state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
1 in 8 Oregonians experience food insecurity in an average year. In 2020, with COVID creating additional barriers to food access – unemployment, disruptions in food supplies, and panic-driven food shortages – food pantries have seen increases in demand as high as 70%.
Here in Central Oregon we face high food insecurity throughout the tri-county area. Combined statistics from Crook, Deschutes,and Jefferson counties indicates that 13% of our neighbors are experiencing food insecurity. Food Bank data from the tri-county area shows that 28.000 people are visiting food pantries for assistance on a monthly basis. Of the 28,000 experiencing food insecurity, around 8,000 people do not qualify for federal assistance, meaning that they do not receive SNAP, WIC, or other funds and are reliant on pantries and other community programs for support.
Food insecurity by County (%)
Children Experiencing Food Insecurity (%)
A tri-county average of 64% of school aged youth rely on free or reduced meals at schools to support their daily diet. With schools closed, those families are increasingly reliant on food pantries for support. Families who are already struggling to put food on the table are severely impacted by the lack of in-school supports, and many of those families are now turning to food pantries for the first time.
Due in large part to historical and current systemic injustices, food insecurity rates continue to be higher among Black, Native American, and Hispanic households, as well as households with children headed by a single woman (Oregon Hunger Task Force). HDFFA recognizes that many systems set up to help people who are seeking food assistance have been created through a paternalistic lens and have furthered the inequity of access in our country. We pledge to address these inequalities by asking for – and using – participant feedback, through offering culturally appropriate foods and programs, and by empowering communities to take the lead on food security.
At HDFFA, we are committed to the belief that everyone deserves good food. Our food access work supports both consumers and producers, by purchasing directly from local farmers and distributing to people currently facing food insecurity in the tri-county area. Since 2018 we have put $27,000 directly into the local economy through food purchases for our VeggieRx program, and we have diverted over 59,000 lbs. of excess food to the NeighborImpact Food Bank through our Grow & Give and Gleaning programs; the equivalent of 24,000 meals.
To join us in furthering Central Oregon’s food security, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up as a volunteer at hdffa.org/get-involved/.