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FAQ

Do you have questions? We may just have answers! Try the list below first, and If you don’t see an answer to your question, please feel free to call us at 503-581-3855.
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Community Gardens

Do I have to donate the food that I grow to the Food Share?

You can do whatever you want with the food that you grow. Please enjoy it with your family and friends or share it with your neighbors and community. If you would like to donate your produce, you can give it to the Food Share at 1660 Salem Industrial Drive NE in Salem, or give it directly to your nearest food bank.

How do I get a garden plot?

If you would like to have your own community garden plot, first contact the garden coordinator for your nearest community garden. A complete list of gardens and garden coordinators can be found here. The community garden coordinator can tell you if there is space available in a garden and, if so, get you ready to start growing!

Emergency Food

Can I donate fresh food?

Yes. You can donate fresh food and food that needs to be frozen or refrigerated (like eggs and milk) directly at our warehouse from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday.

What foods do you need most?

We always need donations of high-protein food like canned tuna, peanut butter, and dairy. Healthy food like canned fruit and vegetables, rice, beans, and pasta are also in high demand.

How do I donate food?

You can donate food at the Marion-Polk Food Share warehouse at 1660 Salem Industrial Drive NE in Salem, OR from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday, or at your nearest food pantry.

What should I do if I was refused food by an agency?

Please call us! We hold our partner agencies to high standards and always want to hear about ways we can improve our services. We will also be able to refer you to a different site where you will be able to receive food. Call 503-581-3855 and ask for our Agency Relations Department.

It is especially important that you call us if you feel you have been refused service because of your race, sex, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, military status, age, disability, ethnicity, color, creed, political or religious affiliation, sexual orientation including gender identity, familial or marital status, veteran status or unfavorable discharge from the military. Marion-Polk Food Share is an equal opportunity provider and our agency policies prohibit discrimination.

Do I need to make special arrangements if I do not speak English?

No. All sites are required to provide you with food regardless of your language, ethnic background, citizenship status or national origin.

What do I need to bring?

What you need to bring will depend on which site you plan to visit. Typically, meal sites don't require you to bring anything. No site should ask you to provide proof of income or a social security number in order to receive food. ID or other documents are not required to receive food. Food box sites with a geographic boundary may ask you to bring something with your name and address on it to show that you live in their service area.

How often can I receive food?

Different sites have different rules. Marion-Polk Food Share does not enforce any limits on how often individuals can receive services. Most meal sites allow you to come whenever they are open with no restrictions. Some food box sites limit your visits to once or twice a month. This is based on any given program's food resources and the number of families it serves.

What if I am unable to leave my home to get food?

Some food pantries are able to make deliveries under certain circumstances. If you are unable to leave your home to get food, please visit our Get Help page to find out which agencies are close to your home. Then call them to find out if they can help you make special arrangements to have food delivered. The Food Share also offers a Meals on Wheels program that provides home delivered meals to elderly or disabled individuals. Call 503-364-2856 to inquire about Meals on Wheels.

Are there income guidelines?

Many food pantries use USDA income guidelines. However, proof of income is not required. You will be asked to state that your income is below the guideline level and sign a form. If your family receives SNAP (food stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) benefits, you automatically are eligible to be served by sites that use USDA income guidelines. These are just guidelines. Special circumstances, for example, medical bills or a recent job loss, can be taken into account.

2016 USDA Income Guidelines

  • Household size: 1 - Monthly income: $1,832 - Annual income: $21,978
  • Household size: 2 - Monthly income: $2,470 - Annual income: $29,637
  • Household size: 3 - Monthly income: $3,108 - Annual income: $37,296
  • Household size: 4 - Monthly income: $3,747 - Annual income: $44,955
  • Household size: 5 - Monthly income: $4,385 - Annual income: $52,614
  • Household size: 6 - Monthly income: $5,023 - Annual income: $60,273
  • Household size: 7 - Monthly income: $5,663 - Annual income: $67,951
  • Household size: 8 - Monthly income: $6,304 - Annual income: $75,647
  • Each additional person over 8 - Monthly income: $642 - Annual income: $7,696
How do I know if I am eligible to get food?

Are you in need? Then you are eligible to get food. Some agencies have service area boundaries and many sites use income guidelines established by USDA. These are just guidelines. Special circumstances, for example, medical bills or a recent job loss, can be taken into account. See our Get Help page to find a pantry or meal site close to you. Income guidelines to receive a food box are printed below:

2016 USDA Income Guidelines

  • Household size: 1 - Monthly income: $1,832
  • Household size: 2 - Monthly income: $2,470
  • Household size: 3 - Monthly income: $3,108
  • Household size: 4 - Monthly income: $3,747
  • Household size: 5 - Monthly income: $4,385
  • Household size: 6 - Monthly income: $5,023
  • Household size: 7 - Monthly income: $5,663
  • Household size: 8 - Monthly income: $6,304
  • Each additional person over 8: $642

If you feel you have been denied service for an inappropriate reason, please call 503-581-3855 and ask to speak with our Agency Relations Department.

Where does your food come from?

The food that we distribute comes from a variety of sources, including donations from local businesses, farmers and individuals, USDA commodities, food from the Oregon Food Bank, and food that we grow and purchase.

How do I get food?

You can receive an emergency food box at your nearest food pantry, or a hot meal at your nearest community meal location. An emergency food box is a 3-to-5 day supply of food for your family.

Meals on Wheels

How are the meals prepared?

The meals are prepared every day by a culinary team in a commercial kitchen at Center 50+ in Salem. The menu is reviewed by a registered dietician. The meals are in line with the American Diabetic & Heart Associations’ moderate guidelines, and represent about 1/3 to 1/2 of the average older adult’s daily caloric and nutritional needs.

Who is eligible for a meal?

Meals on Wheels is for anyone who is not able to shop for or prepare food themselves, specifically seniors over the age of 65 and adults with disabilities.

How do I pay for a meal?

You can pay for meals over the phone by calling the Meals on Wheels office, or by mailing a check to PO Box 8151 Salem, OR 97301. Financial assistance programs are available. Contact NorthWest Disability Services at 1-800-469-8772 to see if you are eligible for assistance like Oregon Project Independence (OPI) or Medicaid, which may cover the cost of home delivered meals. Some financial aid options are also available through Meals on Wheels. Please call 503-364-2856 for more information.

Volunteering

Can I volunteer at the Youth Farm?

Yes! Please contact us here.

How can I sign-up?

You can sign up to volunteer online by clicking here.

What should I wear?

For your safety, we require closed-toe and closed-heel shoes for all volunteer projects. We recommend clothes that are comfortable, and ones that you don't mind if they get a little dirty. It can be cold in our warehouse, so it is a good idea to dress in layers.

What if I need to cancel?

We understand that circumstances do come up and that you may need to cancel. We just ask that you let us know as soon as possible by calling us at 503-581-3855 or emailing volcoord@marionpolkfoodshare.org.

Can I complete court mandated community service at Marion-Polk Food Share?

Yes, we may be able to accommodate you based on shift availability. Contact the volunteer manager at 503-581-3855 for more information.

Do I need to make an ongoing commitment?

There is no need to make an ongoing commitment to volunteer. If you would like to make a regular commitment, we can always use help in Food Recovery, or with daily food pick-ups at our partner grocery outlets. Additionally, we need drivers to pick up food barrels from area businesses during the holidays and following major food drives.

Can you accommodate volunteers with disabilities?

Yes we can. However, we encourage you to contact the volunteer department to discuss any accommodations you might need so we can make sure your experience is enjoyable.

Can I bring a school class or scout troop?

Of course. We love to host student and youth groups for service learning projects. The two-hour shift will include hands-on food repacking, education about hunger, and information about ways that young people can get involved.

Can children volunteer?

Yes. We welcome and encourage children to volunteer. Youth 15 and under need to volunteer with an adult.

Do I need to sign up in advance?

Yes, all volunteers need to sign up in advance. We plan projects and assign staff based on the number of volunteers scheduled. If you would like additional information, contact us at 503-581-3855 or volcoord@marionpolkfoodshare.org.

Youth Farm

Can I purchase vegetables grown at the Youth Farm?

Vegetables grown at the Youth Farm are sold at the Salem Saturday Market June through August. We hope to offer at CSA during the 2017 growing season.

Can I volunteer at the Youth Farm?

Yes! Please contact us here.

How do I sign up to be a Youth Farmer?

To sign up to be a Youth Farmer, please contact Emily Griffith at egriffith@marionpolkfoodshare.org.