By Eric Tegethoff
Oregon News Service
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- September is Hunger Action Month, and comes at a time when many Oregonians are struggling to get the food they need.
At the organization's annual State of Hunger address, president of Oregon Food Bank Susannah Morgan said more than a million people are expected to seek emergency food assistance through their network.
She said despite the worst days of the pandemic coming to a close, people are struggling for other reasons.
"We hear time and time again for parents, seniors and young people alike," said Morgan, "that food and housing prices are still too high to make ends meet with the type of jobs and pay that are available - let alone for folks on fixed incomes like Social Security."
Morgan said federal food assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, is the most important in the fight against hunger because of its scale. However, expanded pandemic benefits ended in March.
A recent study found SNAP recipients experienced a 21% increase in food insufficiency after the increase ended.
Vicky Schwoeffermann, associate director of policy and strategic partnerships for Oregon Food Bank, said making sure food is available and affordable for everyone is crucial to food justice.
"Food justice is dismantling the systemic barriers," said Schwoeffermann, "that lead to people of color, immigrants and refugees, single moms and caregivers, and our gender-expansive neighbors experiencing hunger at a disproportionately high rate."
Morgan noted that other factors contribute to hunger, such as the increasing of wildfires and other
"It's simply the truth that climate change and climate disruptions are causing hunger," said ," said Morgan, "and the need for support here and across the country is real."