Six years ago, with the first statewide plan, Act to End Hunger: 40 ways in 5 years to make a difference, the Oregon Hunger Task Force highlighted family economic stability as the best long-term solution to hunger. Important strides were made to improve access to health care, housing, tax credits, tuition assistance and more. Additionally, Oregon made investments to connect more eligible people to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly Food Stamps), child nutrition programs, and supported the emergency food network.
Despite these efforts, Oregon fell harder than other states during the recent recession. We:
- hovered near the top of state rankings for high unemployment rates
- were worst in the nation for homelessness
- placed second highest among all states for a high percentage of hungry people
Oregon’s new plan arrives at a difficult economic time for Oregon. We are officially out of the recession, yet many Oregonians continue to struggle. Looking back at the timing of the first plan in 2004, Act to End Hunger: 40 ways in five years to make a difference, Oregon was also emerging from a recession. Remarkably, important strides were made.
Building on Success: Creating Oregon's Call to Action
Ending Hunger Before it Begins: Oregon’s Call to Action was created to be a resource and guide to engage all Oregonians in a wide range of public policy options and decisions at the local, state, and federal levels. To create this plan, the Oregon Hunger Task Force and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon spent nine months gathering information about hunger and food security in Oregon.
A project team and Steering Committee consulted with professionals in the fields of public health, poverty research, and social services. The team also visited gleaning, community garden, and other urban and rural food security projects.
- A statewide survey was distributed across the state and was completed by more than 370 Oregonians.
- Project staff attended community forums in Malheur, Coos, Umatilla, and Clatsop counties to hear from local residents.
- In-depth interviews with food pantry volunteers, affordable housing advocates, Oregon Hunger Task Force members, public health experts, and gardening/farming advocates provided invaluable information.
- Reports and data sets from Oregon, other states, and national advocacy and public policy organizations provided background information and ideas for recommendations.
- Collaboration with Pacific Research and Evaluation helped with plan development and expanded the methodology for selecting recommendations, and a hunger-prevention framework.
- A full-day Hunger Summit brought community members together to develop, modify and prioritize recommendations.
A Renewed Commitment
Oregon must maintain and build upon its successful efforts over the past 5 years. We cannot jeopardize what has already been accomplished: it is the foundation upon which we will build a hunger-free Oregon. This is where you come in.
Make Food Security a Priority
Oregon’s leaders must make preventing hunger a priority. Elected officials, policymakers, and concerned Oregonians have the power to improve the education, tax, workforce, and safety net systems. These changes will give Oregonians the tools they need for economic stability and food security.
Moving Forward Together
Public policies and initiatives that increase food security must reflect the needs of Oregon’s local communities. That can only happen if we shape them together. You are invited to join the movement to end hunger before it begins.