Helping Engage Communities to Address Hunger
Food insecurity affects a staggering one in seven residents of Hood River, Wasco and Sherman counties of Oregon. There are children, families, seniors, veterans and the disabled, who are experiencing hunger on a regular basis.
The Olseth Family is proud to have helped support the significant strides made in 2018 by the Oregon Food Bank to reduce hunger in many communities.
- The city of Siletz, Oregon increased food access and self-sufficiency for food pantry clients by teaching cooking and food preservation classes, increasing engagement at the community garden and building a cooking tool library.
- Prineville, Oregon, developed a system to share excess garden produce through community events and the food pantry. The result was increased bartering, less food waste, better services to food pantry clients and community building.
- The Micronesian Islander Community (MIC) garden plots regularly engaged eight Paulaun families, creating a space for community gathering and food self-sufficiency. The success has generated many requests by MIC to expand gardening into North Portland, with the emphasis of growing traditional foods like water spinach.
- We Grow PDX is a program that supports home vegetable gardens through backyard installations, garden kits and shared education. The mission of this program is “to bring together community members, nonprofits, environmental professionals, families, and community activists to address issues surrounding food insecurity in the Black community.
- The Latin community initiated “Cocinando y Chismeando,” a bi-weekly cooking group focused on not only cooking and sharing a meal but discussing topics of food justice including: nourishment, body politics, healing, autonomy and social justice organizing.
- The “Houselessness” Community has created a “one-stop shop” model. Included at the meal site are clothes and food pantry, showers and laundry services, and a casual dining atmosphere. One of the 2018 clients was hired to coordinate the food pantry and undertake mobile distributions to temporary houseless camps.
The Olseth Family Foundation looks forward to aiding the Oregon Food Bank in achieving three additional goals in 2019:
- Identify food insecure rural and underserved communities, within the counties of Hood River, Wasco and Sherman.
- Facilitate the development of unique, healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems for these communities.
- Mentor and train individuals within these communities to implement food programs which best meet their communities’ palates.
In the words of the Oregon Food Bank, “We believe we need to engage the whole community to develop innovative solutions that address the root causes of hunger.”
For more information about the Oregon Food Bank, to volunteer or to make a financial donation, see, www.OregonFoodBank.org