September is Hunger Action Month and our friends at Oregon Food Bank have joined forces with over 200 food banks across the nation to encourage people to take action in the fight against hunger. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 49 million Americans live in households that struggle to put enough food on their tables. In Oregon alone, one in five people receive food assistance.
“Hunger Action Month is a growing movement in our nation,” said Susannah Morgan, Oregon Food Bank’s CEO. “It’s a powerful way to showcase the critical work that food banks across the country are doing to help our neighbors in need. And it’s a good reminder that ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference by becoming involved with their communities to raise awareness and take action.”
Wondering what you can do to make a difference? Check out the Oregon Food Bank’s list of 30 Ways in 30 Days for inspiration. We asked Ginny Sorensen, the Education Programs Manager at Oregon Food Bank, what her favorite picks from the list are for those looking to get involved. Here’s her Top Five:
1. Contact Congress about the 2012 Farm Bill. Ask your representative to support – not cut – funds in the Farm Bill for federal nutrition programs. The farm bill is a major piece of legislation that governs federal farm and food policy. The bill includes provisions with far-reaching impacts on our country’s agriculture, food system, conservation efforts, trade policy, and rural development. The farm bill also includes two of the most important federal nutrition programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Sign up for Action Alerts to stay current on Farm Bill legislation.
2. Visit or volunteer at an OFB Network partner agency. Volunteering at one of Oregon Food Bank’s partner agencies gives you an opportunity to make a direct impact, close to home. Whether you help stock shelves, prepare emergency food boxes or help with office or maintenance work, many local agencies can benefit from your donation of time and service. Learn more.
3. Donate produce through the Plant a Row program. Donate extra produce from your gardens to your local food distribution organizations. Learn more.
4. Volunteer in OFB’s Learning Gardens. These Learning Gardens in Northeast Portland and Beaverton offer a great opportunity to address the root causes of hunger. Those in need of food assistance are welcome to share in the harvest. Learn more and sign up.
5. Learn about the statewide network. Did you know that Oregon Food Bank distributes food to 20 regional food banks across Oregon? Learn about the statewide network of regional food banks and consider paying a visit or making a donation to a network regional food bank.
Here at Portland Farmers Market, we would also encourage you to consider donating to our sister nonprofit, Farmers Market Fund, which administers Fresh Exchange, the money matching program for SNAP participants available at several of our markets.
In fact, for the remainder of the month of September, Farmers Market Fund will increase the Fresh Exchange matching amount from $5 to $7 at our King, Buckman, Northwest and Kenton Markets (plus offer the increased match at King through the market’s close on November 24th). Please help get fresh nutritious food to families in need by spreading the word to SNAP users who may not be aware of the matching program!
You can also help spread the word about Oregon Food Bank and Hunger Action Month. Learn more at the Oregon Food Bank website and join their online community by liking them on Facebook, or following them on Twitter.