Every month more than 40,000 individuals–including 14,000 children–eat at least one meal from the Marion-Polk Food Share network. These meals may come from an emergency food box from a food pantry, in a meal served at a shelters and community meal sites or delivered through Meals on Wheels.
At Marion-Polk Food Share, we believe that everyone should have access to the healthy food they need to work, learn, and thrive. However, many of our neighbors just don’t know where their next meal will come from.
Who is hungry?
Hunger can affect anyone. Look around you. It’s possible that a friend, neighbor, coworker or even a family member has struggled to put food on the table at some point in life. Although the reasons for struggling with hunger are varied and complex, the immediate solution is simply the next meal.
Across the state of Oregon, 16 percent of people report struggling to afford food. This is above the national average, making Oregon the hungriest state in the Western United States.
- Across Oregon, long-term unemployment is forcing more people to seek emergency food. 27 percent of people receiving food said long-term unemployment was a major reason they sought emergency food. That compared to 22 percent in 2008 at the beginning of the recession.
- Most adult emergency food recipients are working, retired, looking for work, or are disabled.
- 34 percent of those receiving emergency food are children.
The affects of hunger
Nothing good happens when you are hungry. Hunger negatively impacts learning, health, and productivity. It affects children, the elderly, and adults.
- Children who are hungry have more difficulty learning in school.
- Childhood hunger and malnutrition can lead to irreversible health problems later in life.
- Seniors and people with medical issues can struggle to maintain their health if they are hungry or malnourished.
The Marion-Polk Food Share network provides more than 9 million pounds of nutritious food to people in need across the Mid-Valley. Every year, we work to eliminate the root causes of hunger through vocational training, nutrition education, garden education, and by working with communities to strengthen local food systems.