Food Banks offer relief to hungry familes
During this pandemic holiday season, food is a basic need that may be in short supply for families. I talked with a Clatsop County Food bank administrator about how people, who perhaps may never have needed help before, can access local food banks and food pantries. And for people who want to give, what’s the best way to do that now? Here’s more.
[Scroll down for Food Bank and Pantry contact info…]
Dustin Martin is chief operations officer for the Clatsop Community Action Regional Food Bank. I asked him if more people are using their services this year. He said that while the food bank regularly distributes groceries to area food pantries, and other programs, the area of their business where they’re seeing the biggest growth is in what he called “direct service.”
“About 40 percent of our business is giving food directly to people in need. And that is actually the largest growth area we’re seeing, in our direct service, we’re seeing about a 20 to 30 percent increase from week to week.”
Martin said some programs are actually serving fewer people, for safety reasons, during the pandemic.
“Some of our meal sites, where seniors used to go in and have lunch, and have a hot meal, and be able to socialize with folks – they’re staying home, because they can’t serve food at those places right now, they have to do the home delivery program. It’s kind of a mixed bag but we’re seeing a greater, greater need in our direct service than ever before.”
The CCA Regional Food Bank is the only food bank in Clatsop County, and they’re part of the Oregon Food Bank network, which is based in Portland. CCA is one of 20 regional food banks in the statewide network. CCA distributes food to a number of small food pantries in Clatsop County, often based at churches. People can go directly to CCA’s food bank to pick up food weekly. They can also access neighborhood food pantries monthly. Residents should scout out a pantry in their local community. If they’re not sure where to go, they can call and ask.
“We really pride ourselves at the food bank on giving people good information, the correct information and getting them where they need to go as quickly as possible without a lot of phone calls, without a lot of hassle. So I would ask that somebody calls us directly at 503-861-FOOD and we will get them pointed in the right direction.”
For people who want to help, Martin said they can give food or money. Money might be the best bet.
“Really, what speaks to their heart. You know some people, food is very tangible – dropping off canned goods or the food drive at your office. That feels very tangible because you know that it’ll be dropped off at the food bank and is going to a family in need. But we can actually acquire about five pounds of food through the system for every dollar that’s donated.”
Above all, Martin wants people to know that food bank services are alive and well, even during this year of hardship.
“During this pandemic, the CCA food bank has been 100% operational. We haven’t missed a beat, the food is flowing, the help is there if you need it.”
There are regional food banks around our listening area in Oregon and Washington. For Clatsop County resources, go to CCA Food Bank, at ccaservices.org. They’re also on Facebook.
For information and links to area food banks throughout our listening area, go to our website, KMUN.org, and click on local news. You’ll find this story there with detailed information.
I’m Joanne Rideout reporting.
Food Bank Contact Information
CCA Food Bank, http://www.ccaservices.org. 503-861-FOOD. They’re also on Facebook.
Oregon Food Bank – Tillamook County Services
https://www.oregonfoodbank.org/about-us/locations/tillamook/ – 503-842-3154
Columbia County: Columbia Pacific Food Bank, at https://cpfoodbank.org/. 503-397-9708
Coastal Community Action Program, http://coastalcap.org/ and click on “Pacific County.” 360-642-6100
Chinook Food Bank at P.O. Box 243, Chinook, WA 98614. The Chinook Food Bank, located 810 State Route 101 in Chinook, is open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month.
The Ilwaco Food Bank at P.O. Box 494, Ilwaco, WA 98624. No phone listed.
Ocean Park Food Bank at P.O. Box 907, Ocean Park WA 98640. 360-665-6567
On the county’s website under “Food” https://www.co.wahkiakum.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/1488/Local-Food-Bank-information?bidId=