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Can OR Lawmakers Hear Rumbling Stomachs?

June 19, 2009

Salem, OR - Almost one-in-six Oregonians uses food stamps, and the number has climbed 27 percent in the past year. In these final days of the legislative session, there are a couple of hunger action bills still in play to address the growing need. One would eliminate the co-pay amount for school breakfast. Poor families must now pay $.70 per child, per day for the two meals served at school.

Jon Stubenvoll, advocacy director for the Oregon Food Bank, says that means many of them skip breakfast, and only buy lunch.

"This may not seem like a lot of money to people who are at a higher income. But, for families that struggle to make a rental payment or cover health care costs, a dollar or more per child, every couple of days, really starts to add up."

Another proposal could add up to $1 million to the General Fund Food Program. Stubenvoll says the program helps food bank sites work more efficiently by providing for things like trucks and refrigeration, so that donation dollars can go directly for food.

"We also appreciate this is a difficult budget year – but we feel strongly that, at its core, the legislature needs to find a way to feed people."

Both hunger-fighting measures have been before the Ways and Means Committee, which has yet to make a decision to send them to the Senate or House floor. There’s only about a week to do that, before the legislature adjourns.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR