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OR Food Banks Stress Importance of Accurate 2020 Census

About 10% of Oregon's population lives in neighborhoods considered difficult to count for the next census. (Tada Images/Adobe Stock)
About 10% of Oregon's population lives in neighborhoods considered difficult to count for the next census. (Tada Images/Adobe Stock)
February 7, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon Food Bank is mobilizing its statewide network to ensure every Oregonian is counted in this year's census.

This is the first time Oregon Food Bank is taking part in census outreach efforts. Rae Dunnaville, movement building manager with the organization, says they're in prime position to do so, because they interact with about 72,000 community members each month.

Dunnaville says they're supporting service organizations like food banks with education on the importance of the census, training and translating material.

"We're also providing folks with the ability to do the census right on site," says Dunnaville. "So, we're helping by offering technology, laptops, support with volunteers."

Dunnaville notes 40,000 volunteers help Oregon Food Bank each year.

The organization also is partnering with We Count Oregon to assist historically undercounted populations. That includes children, communities of color, students and renters.

Oregon Food Bank's network reaches into southwest Washington, where it is also doing outreach.

Dunnaville says an accurate count will mean Oregonians get the resources they need, which is in line with Oregon Food Bank's mission to eliminate the root causes of hunger.

She says the state receives $3,200 per person, per year from the federal government for assistance programs based on census numbers.

"That's a lot of resources that are really needed to continue making sure that programs like SNAP and WIC, and Section 8 housing and school meals, continue to have the funding that they need as our state grows," says Dunnaville.

In the past decade, an estimated 450,000 people have moved to Oregon.

About 10% of the population lives in areas considered hard-to-count.

By April 1, households across Oregon will receive invitations to participate in the census. They can respond online, by phone or by mail.

Disclosure: Oregon Food Bank contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR