Recent Daily Astorian Articles
CCA to The Rescue
Food bank to get the word out about hunger in Clatsop County
National campaign launched to win truckload of food
By CHELSEA GORROW
The Daily Astorian
Business is booming for the Clatsop Community Action Regional Bank. But that’s not good news.
More than one-million pounds of food have been distributed in Clatsop County and as September settles in, so does Hunger Action Month.
The food bank is promoting the “30 Ways in 30 Days” campaign to fight hunger. The food bank is part of a national movement to raise awareness and take action to fight hunger in America, where more than 49 million people suffer from food insecurity. Community members who make a pledge at www.oregonfoodbank.org can choose to donate, organize, advocate or volunteer.
The state with the most pledges in the nationwide effort will win a truckload of food.
“We encourage everyone to pledge to make a difference,” said Marlin Martin, food program developer for CCA regional food bank. “In September, we really want to try to raise awareness. Our regional food bank is participating in a number of different activities throughout the month in order to do that.”
On Saturday, the food bank will have a booth at the Veterans Stand Down event, held at Camp Rilea from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We’ll be telling our story, getting the word out and we’ll have examples of all of the food that we have available for what we call ’emergency food boxes,’ that we have at all of our numerous pantries,” Martin said.
Various brochures and informational flyers will also be passed out, Martin added, to tell the veterans where to go and where they can get help, as well as know where to refer people.
Sept. 16 through 18, the food bank will also be passing out information at the 11th annual Blues By the Sea festival at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds. Part of the event’s proceeds will be donated to the food bank.
“We’re going to be out there telling our story again and letting people know about hunger,” Martin said. “We’ve broken records again and that is a sad thing to say because in our business, the last thing we want to do is see business go up.”
From July 2009 to June 2010, the CCA Regional Food Bank Network and Partner Agency distribution was calculated at 1,036,587 pounds of emergency food in Clatsop County. That totals more than 680,000 meals. More than 14,000 families visited emergency food pantries, and more than 254,000 meals were reportedly served at hot meal sites. That means, Martin’s statistic sheet shows, more than 54,000 hours of volunteer time throughout the county.
Proceeds from another event the following weekend, Sept. 24 through 26, will also go to the food bank. The Pacific Northwest Brew Cup will be a fundraiser for CCA’s food bank. The festival had to change locations from the Regatta Square because of safety concerns. The event will now be held outside of the CCA food bank location. That’s to say, their nearly-former location, since the new building should be ready for occupancy by the end of the month.
“The Brew Cup is raising money for the food bank as well and we’ll be talking about hunger a lot. It will be interesting because at the event we’re right in front of the old building that we’re trying to operate out of and its humble surroundings,” Martin said.
“But we’ll also have a chance to talk about our new facility and create more awareness out of it and more importantly, we can help to establish and implement programs from the new place. Like sustainability and nutrition and healthy eating and better ways for people to help themselves, such as gardening and harvesting that garden and cook, can and freeze those goods. Save it for the winter.”
Blackberries are something, Martin said, that people should be picking and freezing now so they can have fresh blackberries this winter.
Macy’s, Kraft Foods, The Cheesecake Factory and United Airlines are national sponsors of Hunger Action Month.
For more ways to fight hunger, visit www.ccaservices.org.
“Colder temperatures and rain are not far away,” Martin said. “That means higher energy bills,, reduced hours for many workers, and ultimately increases in demand for food assistance. We encourage anyone in need of food assistance to visit a pantry or meal site near them. Also visit the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Office in your community.” SNAP is the former form of food stamps.
Fighting hunger ’30 Ways in 30 Days’Volunteer. Donate produce from the garden. Skip a meal and donate funds. Read a book about hunger. Those are just a few of the many ways the community can fight hunger through the “30 Ways in 30 Days” campaign during September’s Hunger Action Month.
“We encourage everyone to pledge to make a difference at www.oregonfoodbank.org during this nationwide campaign,” said Marlin Martin, food program developer, Clatsop Community Action Regional Food Bank. “The state that gets the most pledges will win a truckload of food. Please visit www.ccaservices.org for more ways to help fight hunger in our community.”
CCA Regional Food Bank is part of a national movement to raise awareness and take action to fight hunger in America, and is a member of the Oregon Food Bank Network, a cooperative statewide coalition of 20 regional food banks working to eliminate hunger and its root causes.
Here are CCA Regional Food Bank Network and Partner Agency distribution for the 2009-10 Fiscal year (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010) statistics at a glance: 1,036,587 pounds of emergency food were distributed in Clatsop County, which accommodated the production of approximately 680,021 meals; there were 14,191 family visits to emergency food pantries; hot meal sites reported 254,291 served; and volunteers served 54,123 hours throughout the county.
The board of directors and staff of CCA and the Regional Food Bank have continued in their efforts to develop the new CCA Regional Food Bank facility in Warrenton, which will be in operation by the end of the month.
Letter: Alleviate hunger
As co-coordinators of Manna House Food Pantry, we support what the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act would do for the nation’s hungry children, so we were pleased to see the editorial, “Feed the Children” (The Daily Astorian, Aug. 3).
Many pantries and meal sites in the area are struggling in this economy. We would be deeply grateful for any help. A good child nutrition bill could increase children’s access to affordable school meals and summer meals. At our pantry, we see a great need for meal programs for children.
Manna House Food Pantry, on the property of Seaside Christian Church, supplies approximately 130 individuals and families with food twice a month. About one-third of those we serve are single mothers. These mothers work at several jobs or are disabled. Several of our clients are women raising their grandchildren.
Our pantry plans around the school year. During the summer months, feeding children is a greater challenge, because they eat three meals at home every day. This is when we concentrate our efforts to make fresh fruits and healthy snacks available. We try to supply foods that are safe and easy for children to prepare.
Improving school meals and making more summer meal programs available in rural areas through the child nutrition reauthorization bill will help the families we serve. Every child has the right to develop, to think and learn on a full stomach.
Our children are the future of this country. Please ask your congressional representative to support child nutrition reauthorization, so that we can end childhood hunger by 2015. Remember, also, that you can help to alleviate childhood hunger by supporting emergency food sites like ours and the Clatsop Community Action Regional Food Bank in Astoria.
Manna House Food Pantry
Letter: Stand up for kids
The Daily Astorian Aug. 3 editorial, “Feed the children,” spoke to an issue that is very important to me: ending childhood hunger. Thank you for highlighting the role of child nutrition programs in preventing hunger in our schools.
All children should have an opportunity to excel in school, regardless of their families’ economic circumstances. Reduced price breakfast, lunch, and snacks help to ensure that no child will be weak and distracted during classes because of an empty stomach.
My 19 years’ experience volunteering for our Clatsop Community Action Regional Food Bank and the Seaside Sunday Supper/Meals on Wheels program has shown me that childhood hunger exists. In that time, I have seen a growing need for emergency food on the North Oregon Coast.
The impact of the recession goes far beyond the people who were laid off early on. When people can’t afford to shop, eat out and travel, those businesses also suffer and make adjustments in their help through layoffs. There’s a snowball effect. I see more and more young families coming to meal sites for help.
One in five children faces hunger, but until you see them in person at a meal site or pantry, the problem is too easy to ignore. Please stand up for these kids by asking your representative to pass the child nutrition reauthorization before the end of September.
DAILY ASTORIAN NEWSFLASH 9/28/09
Clatsop Community Action to the rescue
Agency to bail out Northwest Oregon Housing Authority and help pay rent for families who lost their vouchers
See article By DEEDA SCHROEDER of the The Daily Astorian
The roughly 100 Clatsop County families whose rent vouchers were terminated by the Northwest Oregon Housing Authority may be able to count on rent assistance from local organizations through the end of the year.
Clatsop Community Action has pledged to assist clients losing Section 8 vouchers through December, using operating funds and federal stimulus funds.
In May, NOHA learned that it had received $600,000 less in rental assistance money than expected from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and notified 285 households throughout Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties that they would be cut from the Housing Choice Voucher Program on July 1.
The households receive a credit for a portion of rent as part of the program. For many, the help pays for most – or even all – of their monthly rent. NOHA has twice reached into its reserves to pay for July and August rent, but doing so again would be taking the housing authority down to “bare bones,” said NOHA Executive Director Carol Snell at a meeting last week.
George Sabol, CCA’s executive director, said his board of directors acted in support of the organization’s mission to help people meet housing, food, and other basic living needs. Sabol recalled the generosity of Clatsop County residents during the 2007 storm, and said that kind of outpouring is one of the things that makes this area special.
“The citizens of Clatsop County have stepped up to help their neighbors on many occasions,” Sabol said.
Even if NOHA has mismanaged its Housing Choice Voucher Program, as a special investigation by The Daily Astorian revealed last week, Sabol said it is important to do everything possible to help in such a crisis, regardless of its cause.
The Rev. Richard Loop, CCA board chairman, said the decision to use money set aside for another use wasn’t easy, but the needs of the families was most pressing.
“We need to address the crisis at hand,” Loop said.
Sabol said they were expecting assistance from the communities’ faith-based organizations, landlords, and concerned citizens to help fill the funding gap needed to ensure the families do not become homeless.
He added that he isn’t sure of exactly how many people will need the help, but is optimistic all families will remain in their homes. NOHA sent out a letter in early June, instructing all affected tenants to contact CCA by June 24.
About 44 families got in touch, and Sabol has made arrangements to cover those families, at an expense of about $18,000 each month. He’s hopeful that any others needing help will also contact CCA soon so they can figure out how much more money is needed.
Sabol would like to be able to replace the funds taken out of CCA’s budget, if NOHA is able to come up with the cash needed to cover the vouchers, but he’s definitely not counting on it.
“It would really be great if NOHA would pay back our agency over the next few years so that we can use the funding as originally intended.” However, he went on to say he did not expect repayment. Sabol said his main concern is that NOHA has not been able to guarantee reinstatement dates yet and funds available through CCA are limited.
• Voucher recipients needing help can contact Clatsop Community Action, located at 364 Ninth Street, at (503)325-1400.
Donations can be directed to the United Way of Clatsop County. They should be designated “Housing Emergency,” and sent to P.O. Box 775, Astoria, OR 97103