Second Installment in my Volunteer for a Year series- Introducing…
The Oregon Food Bank
Filling the role as service learning project coordinator this year for my daughter’s 6th grade class at the Portland Village School– we chose The Oregon Food Bank (OFB) as our organization to volunteer for. When we arrived on site, we were introduced to the project-CARROTS!
Apparently we were lucky to get produce as our task for the morning, as fresh produce donations are rare for the food bank. Typically school groups measure out bags of dried goods (beans, rice etc.).
The students worked for 1.5 hours creating 5 lb. bags of carrots that would later be placed in food boxes and distributed to families in need.
Since the beginning of the 2008 recession, food box distribution has increased 41 percent.
In an average month, 92,000 children in Oregon eat meals from emergency food boxes.
Of those receiving Emergency Food, 34% are Children.
-Village School Students Working Hard!-
In 2012, 20% of households receiving food assistance had one or more veterans living in them. (Since 1996 this number has ranged from 15% to 21%.).
The percentage of individuals with education beyond high school or GED receiving food assistance has changed from 29% in 2000 to about 42% in 2012.
Working alongside another school group, the students packaged:
6,333 pounds of carrots in the 1.5 hour shift.
A meal is considered slightly more than a pound of food. That means the students provided approximately 4,872 meals during their volunteer shift
(94 meals per volunteer)!
Way To Go 6th Graders!
After the students completed their shift, we were given a quick tour of the facility- it’s an impressive place! The OFB addresses hunger in a multi-faceted manner:
- The innovative Fresh Alliance program collects and distributes nutritious, perishable foods for people who are hungry.
- Education Programs teach low-income participants to grow food from seed and to stretch food dollars while cooking healthy meals.
- Work through FEAST (Food, Education, Agriculture Solutions Together) workshops and other partnerships help communities build stronger and more equitable local food systems.
- The Advocacy Team works to find long-term, public-policy solutions that benefit people with low incomes.
- Huge outdoor garden on site.
- Commercial kitchen on site for nutrition and cooking classes.
“Last year, Oregon Food Bank distributed 43.5-million pounds of food to hunger-relief agencies.”
In 2012 at OFB’s two Portland area locations, volunteer hours were equal to 74 full time employees, valued at $2.4 million. WOW!!!
Photo Left: I attempted to get a photo with my daughter, but she exclaimed, “No way mom, you’re going to put that on your blog!” I guess the volunteer outfits weren’t flattering enough. 🙂
So, one of her friends posed for a photo with me. Thanks Jaslie!
All the above statistics were found on the Oregon Food Bank website. Click here for a PDF version of the 2012 stats, and to find additional information.
The OFB has plenty of opportunities to volunteer for groups and individuals. There are shift dates and times planned in advance for school groups – you simply sign up for the shift you want to volunteer for.
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