LANE COUNTY, Ore. — More than 550,000 Oregonians face food insecurity, according to the Oregon Food Bank, and that includes more than 194,000 children.
We talked with the Arc of Lane County in Springfield on Monday, and they have souped up their programs since the start of the pandemic to reach more people. But when the pandemic first started, the arc says they saw an alarming demand.
It all started in October 2020 when the Arc of Lane County first started its food program in Springfield. Food assistance was in high demand at the time creating a crisis for many local food pantries.
But now, programs have been developed to maintain an even flow between families and pantries.
"We also offer a weekly food box delivery, and that's a big partnership with united way. And somebody who lives within our 10-mile radius and doesn't have transportation, every week they'll get a food box delivered by a door dasher," said Edith Osorio, Family Resource Manager with the Arc of Lane County.
For others, they simply pick up their food box at the Arc building, located on E Street. Mondays are very busy at the Arc; boxes of produce and non-perishable foods are delivered and then assorted into boxes for families. Osorio says it's a very simple program for families in need.
"The only information that we ask for food boxes at the moment is just a first name, a last initial, a zip code, how many members in their households, how many adults and kids. We do kind of like to organize the boxes in terms of family amount," said Osorio.
According to the Oregon Food Bank, 58 percent of households are getting benefits from SNAP. 82 percent of households say they cook at home daily. 18 percent are 65 or older. 16 percent of households reported having someone who is unemployed.
Osorio says they provide what they can, anything to keep their programs of assistance sustainable through the pandemic and in the future.
KVAL News will be kicking off our Can-Do Food Drive on Wednesday. We'll be in Springfield and Junction City raising food donations and money for Food for Lane County. This is even more important now as we see food insecurity be a major issue in year two of the coronavirus pandemic.