The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the number of hungry Oregonians has decreased. But Oregon remains the hungriest state in the Northwest.
The USDA measures something called “food insecurity” — basically, that’s when someone lacks consistent access to adequate food. Although fewer Oregonians struggled with food insecurity between 2014 and 2016, the number is still high. Approximately 14.6 percent of Oregonians struggle to feed themselves.
Carly Sanders is the Food Program Manager for the nonprofit Neighbor Impact in Redmond. She said many of her clients struggle to pay for groceries because of rising rents.
“Their rent has gone up or they’re really struggling to find housing,” said Sanders. “And so at the end of the month they’ve spent their money on rent and they need to visit emergency food programs.”
According to the USDA, Oregon is the 12th hungriest state in the nation.
Nonprofit groups that work with low-income Oregonians pointed to the success of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) for the decline.
“We are appalled at proposals at the federal level to make cuts to food assistance for people and families,” says Annie Kirschner, executive director of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “As Congress addresses the budget, our lawmakers must strengthen SNAP, not cut it. The bottom line is that if these proposed cuts become law, more people will experience.”