Info About Hunger

Every month more than 55,000 individuals–including 18,000 children–receive food assistance in Marion and Polk counties. These meals may come from an emergency food box from a food pantry, in a meal served at a shelters and community meal sites or delivered through Meals on Wheels.

At Marion Polk Food Share, we believe that everyone should have access to the healthy food they need to work, learn, and thrive. However, many of our neighbors just don’t know where their next meal will come from.

Who is hungry?

Hunger can affect anyone. Look around you. It’s possible that a friend, neighbor, coworker or even a family member has struggled to put food on the table at some point in life. Although the reasons for struggling with hunger are varied and complex, the immediate solution is simply the next meal.

Across the state of Oregon, 10.5 percent of people report struggling to afford food.

  • Most adult emergency food recipients are working, retired, looking for work, or are disabled.
  • 33 percent of those receiving emergency food are children.
  • Families facing hunger may not necessarily be food insecure all the time. The need for emergency food often reflects a family’s need to make trade-offs between housing or medical bills and buying groceries.

The effects of hunger

Nothing good happens when you are hungry. Hunger negatively impacts learning, health, and productivity. It affects children, the elderly, and adults.

  • Children who are hungry have more difficulty learning in school.
  • Childhood hunger and malnutrition can lead to irreversible health problems later in life.
  • In an average classroom in Oregon, 1 out of 8 children face hunger.
  • Seniors and people with medical issues can struggle to maintain their health if they are hungry or malnourished.

Our action

In 2021, the Marion Polk Food Share network provided more than 11 million pounds of nutritious food to people in need across the Mid-Valley. Every year, we work to eliminate the root causes of hunger through vocational training, nutrition education, garden education, and by working with communities to strengthen local food systems.