People in Jefferson County are feeling it hard. One in four residents there uses food stamps — a jump of 30% in the past year. Demand for emergency food boxes is soaring too. The Oregon Food Bank says requests for food help went up as much as forty percent in the last half of 2008.
Who is hungry? According to OFB statistics, about a third of the households receiving food assistance have a member working full time. And 36% of the food help goes to children — so it may be no surprise that school officials say they are seeing more kids come hungry.
Advocates are working on a raft of bills (pdf) aimed at increasing help for those who need it. Food may be one of the last things to be cut from a family budget, but it’s also an easy easy to trim. One less helping of noodles. One more meal of mustard sandwiches.
Are you currently receiving food stamps, or going to an emergency pantry for a food box or to choose from their selection of available food? Have you done so in the past? What led to you being hungry? How does not having enough to eat affect the rest of your life? What help worked well for you? What did not?
Do you help get food to people who need it? What do you do? What works well? What needs improvement? What experiences stick with you?
- Stephanie Akins: Mother of six now living in southwest Portland, whose family was homeless for 14 months
- Patti Whitney-Wise: Executive director of the Oregon Hunger Task Force
- Darrin Ditchen: Owner of Golden Valley East farm
- Amy Carlton: Student at Lake Oswego High school and the founder of Teens Fighting Hunger