Oregon has shown limited progress in reducing food insecurity over the last three years, according to a new report.
The Oregon Center for Public Policy says more than a half-million Oregonians now suffer from food insecurity. That means they either went hungry or didn’t know where their next meal was coming from at some time during the past year.
U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show food insecurity actually declined 3.9 percent in Oregon over three years. But Janet Bauer with OCPP said those declines are statistically insignificant.
“Oregon has a long way to go in addressing food security,” she said.
She added that many Oregonians are struggling to put food on the table.
“We cannot say with confidence that food insecurity has gone down in Oregon,” Bauer said. “It’s just as likely that the situation has not improved as it has marginally improved.”
Over the last decade, Oregon’s national ranking for food insecurity has improved from close to the worst, to now 14th.
But Congress is poised to consider a bill that would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, on which many families rely for food.
Bauer said the latest version of the Farm Bill in Congress doesn’t address food shortages adequately.
“We should be investing more in food assistance programs and taking steps to relieve the economic stress of working families,” she said.
Bauer thinks it’s clear many working families are under severe economic pressures and have to make tough choices about whether to pay the rent, keep the lights on or buy food.