Each year, we try to find one organization in which to give back to during the holidays. Two years ago, we adopted a family. Last year, we gave wish list items to children at St. Mary’s Home for Boys. This year, we looked at many options ranging from the Oregon Humane Society to Salvation Army and everything in between. Our goal was to find an organization that is credible, well known for their good works and somewhere that we know our contribution will go directly to those who need it most. This year, our charity of choice was the Oregon Food Bank.
We are definitely not ones to toot our own horn, that’s not the purpose of this post. However, there were some alarming statistics that were so impactful we ended up choosing OFB. We share these with you so that maybe, if you are looking for somewhere to give back to, you may be inspired to give to the Oregon Food Bank, too!
- 73 percent of surveyed households had incomes below the federal poverty level ($22,050 for a family of four). That compares to 67 percent in 2008.
- 64 percent of households with children had incomes below the federal poverty level.
- 29 percent of households had incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level ($11,025 for a family of four).
- 31 percent of surveyed households listed long-term unemployment as the reason they sought emergency food. That compares to 22 percent in 2008 at the beginning of the recession.
- 28 percent of adult recipients are unemployed and looking for work, compared to 20 percent in 2008.
- The average length of time of unemployment was 15 months.
- Due to an unprecedented recession, demand for emergency food remains at historic levels.
- An average of 240,000 people eat meals from emergency food boxes each month. Of those, 33 percent are children.
- 16 percent of adult recipients work full time, compared to 21 percent in 2008.
- 52 percent of respondents cite “to be employed” as critical to improving their situation. That compares to 45 percent in 2008.
Without belaboring the point, the facts listed above made today’s poverty, unemployment and overall need very real for us. With the economy the way it is and unemployment running out, many families are genuinely struggling to get by. When 64% of families with children have an income below the federal poverty line, there’s definitely a need for assistance from those of us more fortunate.
The bottom line is this: our communities need us and it takes very little to make a big difference, so if you are out and about this year, pick up a bag of canned goods and drop them at any Jiffy Lube in the Portland area. If we all pitch in just a little, we can truly make an impact on those who have run across hard times, some for the first time ever. It takes a village!