High food prices, joblessness, and insufficient government assistance are some of the chief drivers of widespread hunger problems in Oregon according to a new hunger survey from the Oregon Food Bank.
The survey reached nearly 4600 emergency food recipients.
Nearly half said the high cost of food led to their reliance on emergency food. More than a third pointed to high fuel costs.
Unemployment or low pay were big problems for many respondents.
Dwayne Patterson runs a Salvation Army in North Portland. He says new people are picking up emergency food, like a dad who came last week, with his three year-old.
“He didn’t know where to go, what to do, and how to do things. Because you could tell it was his first time. I think it was a little difficult for him to have to reach out for help. But he had to.”
Children are more than one third of Oregon’s emergency food consumers.
The majority of Oregon families getting emergency food also receive government assistance, often called “food stamps.”
Ninety percent of respondents on food stamps say that assistance doesn’t last the month.