Lack of Food Assistance Has Health Consequences for Oregonians
Monday, May 15, 2023
Oregonians who have experienced food insecurity are pushing the state to ensure everyone has access to federal food assistance.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the largest food aid program in the country but people who are undocumented are not allowed to apply for it.
Janet Orozco Ortiz, a community health worker in Nehalem Bay, said her family was not able to afford enough food when she was growing up and couldn't access SNAP.
"Because we were unable to purchase enough culturally appropriate and nutritious food, that resulted in some of my family members developing chronic illnesses like diabetes," Orozco Ortiz explained.
Senate Bill 610 would extend aid to lawful permanent residents, U.S. Compacts of Free Association citizens and other Oregonians who arrived as immigrants or refugees. More than 62,000 Oregonians are currently excluded.
Orozco Ortiz pointed out she works with people who are barred from SNAP.
"People are struggling to find food," Orozco Ortiz observed. "Everything is so expensive and going to the food pantries, sometimes they're just not culturally appropriate, which makes it difficult."
Orozco Ortiz argued it is time for Oregon to open up access to the important assistance program.
"Food is a human right," Orozco Ortiz asserted. "So Senate Bill 610, Food for All Oregonians, will ensure that anyone can apply for benefits and get the access to the food that we need to fully thrive, because no one should face hunger."
The legislation is currently in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. A virtual Day of Action for the bill is being held for Tillamook County residents May 24.Oregonians who have experienced food insecurity are pushing the state to ensure everyone has access to federal food assistance.
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