NW farmers, grocer team up to fight hunger
Northwest farmers will fight hunger throughout June Dairy Month. The goal is to raise $100,000 and 100,000 pounds of food in partnership with Fred Meyer stores to benefit Oregon Food Bank, Food Lifeline and Second Harvest.
The month-long drive includes events in Portland, Medford and Bend. The kick-off event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 3 at the Hollywood Fred Meyer Store in Portland. Attendees include Laura Golino de Lovato, director of development at Oregon Food Bank and Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, as well as Oregon dairy farmer Jerome Rosa to collect food and cash donations.
Donations of non-perishable food will also be accepted at the Dairy Farmers of Oregon Milk Carton Boat Race on June 9 at Westmoreland Park. Special donation events at Fred Meyer stores in Medford and Bend will be held in tandem on June 22.
Donations may be made at 110 Fred Meyer locations in Oregon and Washington. Cash donations can be made at Fred Meyer checkout registers and online at http://bit.ly/YWue9y.
"Oregon's 37,000 family farms grow an abundance of nutritious food," said Coba. "This food drive will help channel some of our state's bounty toward local families experiencing hunger during the summer months."
Hunger doesn't take a summer vacation. Requests for emergency food increase in the summer when children no longer have access to school breakfast and lunch programs.
"When my 4-year old son is hungry, our whole family suffers...from his resulting impatience, lack of understanding and tantrums. My heart goes out to all the families who will struggle to feed their kids this summer," said Morgan. "We can all help these families have a happy, well-nourished summer. We encourage everyone to join the Northwest farmers and Fred Meyer stores in the fight against hunger at the Milk Carton Boat Race and other fun activities during June Dairy Month."
Hunger is at an all-time high in Oregon. In an average month, an estimated 270,000 people in Oregon and Clark County, Washington, ate meals from emergency food boxes during the past year. Of those, almost 92,000 were children.
Distribution of emergency food throughout the Oregon Food Bank Network increased 9 percent during 2011-2012 and 41 percent since the beginning of the recession as long-term unemployment, persistent underemployment and the high cost of food, fuel, and housing forced more and more to seek emergency food.
About Dairy Farmers of Oregon
Dairy Farmers of Oregon is a program of the Oregon Dairy Products Commission. The Commission works on behalf of Oregon's dairy farm families who, with the help of 123,000 dairy cows and Oregon dairy processors, provide award-winning cheeses, milk, butter, and an extensive line of premium ice cream, sour cream and yogurt. Milk is the official state beverage of Oregon, and Oregon is recognized nationwide as a leader for milk quality. The Oregon dairy industry is a community-conscious, caring business that contributes to nearly $1 billion to Oregon's economic well-being each year. Oregon dairymen and women care about their cows, their communities, and the land, air and water of Oregon. www.dairyfarmersor.com. The Commission also provides nutrition education through its program of the Oregon Dairy Council. www.oregondairycouncil.org
About Oregon Food Bank
Oregon Food Bank's mission: to eliminate hunger and its root causes ... because no one should be hungry. With sufficient public will and support of the entire community, we believe it is possible to eliminate hunger and its root causes. Oregon Food Bank collects and distributes food through a network of four OFB branches and 16 independent regional food banks serving Oregon and southwest Washington. The OFB Network helps nearly 1 in 5 households fend off hunger. OFB also leads statewide efforts to increase resources for hungry families and to eliminate the root causes of hunger through advocacy, nutrition education, garden education, and helping communities strengthen local food systems.