Conference summary: Hungry for Change

January 18, 2013 at 6:32 am Leave a comment



One in five Oregonians are hungry. Count them:  One..Two..Three..Four..HUNGRY!

Eighteen percent of all Oregonians live in poverty. That’s equal to 662,283 Oregonians, a number bigger than the populations of Salem, Eugene, Medford, Gresham, Beaverton and Bend, combined.

OFRAH believes that the safety net cushions the fall of the poor and hungry. Oregon has seen dramatic increases in poverty levels but because of the safety net Oregon has not seen the same increases in hunger. But when 1 in 5 Oregonians are hungry then we know that the safety net has holes.

Hunger is one huge problem made up of many issues. Hunger exists because of many reasons. A panel of local hunger experts briefly addressed a few pertinent issues – the holes in the safety net –that are the foundation of their 2013 legislative agendas:

Robin Stephenson of Bread for the World stressed that federal programs for poor and hungry people have been under attack. Proposed cuts to the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and WIC will increase the number of hungry people here in Oregon.

Patti Whitney-Wise, executive director at Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, noted that Oregon is one of the few states that taxes incomes below the poverty level. Whitney-Wise explained that the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps families bridge the gap between poverty and eking by, by supplementing below-poverty-level incomes and allowing families to afford basic necessities of food and rent.

Oregon Food Bank’s state policy expert, Phillip Kennedy-Wong, pointed out that while the state food bank network distributed over 1 million emergency boxes last year, cuts to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in the Farm Bill have depleted their resources. An OFB legislative priority is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that provides cash assistance to low-income families with children while they strive to become self-sufficient. The program’s goal is to reduce the number of families living in poverty, through employment and community resources. Governor Kitzhaber proposes to reduce the lifetime limit from five years to three.

Howard Kenyon, program manager of the Northeast Emergency Food Program, shared his observations of the effect hunger has on the people who come to his pantry. He told stories of people he knew who struggled to find work and survive month to month on meager resources.

The day concluded with breakout sessions on Advocacy 101, Using Personal Stories for Effectiveness, and The Effect of Federal Policy on Oregon. Each session provided participants with ways to become involved and advocate for change…because we are Hungry for Change!

What You Can Do:

Review the panelists’ legislative priorities for 2013.








Entry filed under: Events.

Oregon Faith Roundtable Against hunger Update Jubilee Oregon Evenet – Jan 23rd

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