Oregon Food Bank preparing for end of pandemic food benefits for Oregonians

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 10:16 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - On Wednesday, pandemic-era emergency food assistance benefits are coming to an end. As SNAP recipients prepare to see, on average, a 40% decrease in their total food benefits, the Oregon Food Bank is preparing for the possibility of increase need for help.

“At the start of the pandemic, the federal government rushed in to help families that were struggling and one of the things they did was add more money into SNAP benefits,” said Susannah Morgan, CEO of the Oregon Food Bank. “Those of us in the anti-hunger world were thrilled, not just because more people would have grocery money then, but because we have been asking for decades for more money for SNAP. The SNAP dollars run out between week two and three. They don’t get a family all the way through the month. So this extra money, around $100, was really, really helpful to a lot of families around Oregon and it is ending across the nation. Maybe 700,000 more people might need food assistance this coming month and we will be there.”

Tuesday afternoon, the Oregon Food Bank’s statewide warehouse was bustling with volunteers hard at work.

SEE ALSO: Pandemic food benefits stopping at end of month for Oregonians

“We have been in absolute high volume mode ever since the start of the pandemic,” said Morgan. “There was no point in the pandemic in which we shut down and weren’t able to get food out to our neighbors. So I am sure that will be the same in March that we will rise to meet the additional demand, but the only way we will be there is if the community stands behind us. We need community support and we need the state of Oregon to step up and ensure that those shelves stay full.”

For those who wish to help, you can donate monetarily or donate you time and volunteer. FOX 12 has been partnering with the Oregon Food Bank for our FOX 12 Hunger Free Project to help those in need in our community. Click here to learn more and donate.

“Food is available for you and your family,” said Morgan. “Please go to OregonFoodFinder.org or call 2-1-1 if that’s more convenient for you. Every food assistance site is located there. There will be one near you ready to help. I always think it’s a smart idea for folks who are worried that they won’t have enough money to get food through the month to go to the free sites first because we do not have everything. We have excess food, great food, really high quality food, but not as much variety as the grocery store. Please come see what we have first and then go to the grocery store second and it will stretch your grocery dollars.”