Nineteen percent of Oregonians rely on food stamps. This includes over 130,000 Multnomah County residents in the past year (a 21 percent increase from 2008). State unemployment has remained at a high of over 10 percent and social service budgets are being cut. Needless to say, times are rough.
It’s even rougher for low income families during summer when kids aren’t in school. A report released this month by Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon showed that only one in four students who qualified for free or reduced price lunch in 2009 are receiving meals through the summer food program. This means a lot of children are not getting sufficient sustenance when they’re out of school.
In 2008 President Obama pledged to end childhood hunger in the U.S. by 2015, and increase child nutrition spending by $10 billion. Hearings in Congress on child nutrition and school lunch legislation ensued this month and will be voted on by the House Education and Labor Committee this week. At a time when our state budget is being squeezed, this funding is crucial to ensuring healthy food access for 16.4 percent of Oregon’s population—children.
To find out more about the bills on deck visit the Farm to School’s website.
Find free summer meals near you:
- Check out the locations and times for Portland Park & Recreation’s Summer Playground Program which provides free lunch to kids all summer throughout the week
- At www.SummerFoodOregon.org or calling toll-free 1-800-SAFENET (723-3638)
Go here for information on donating food.
And, if you have a garden at home, why not plant a row for the hungry?