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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Rural OR county battles increased summer hunger

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Thursday, May 30, 2024   

While Tillamook County, Oregon might be famous for its cheese, many of its residents struggle with food insecurity. The issue is especially acute in the summer when kids are out of school.

Levi Johnson is the Tillamook branch operations lead for Oregon Food Bank. He said the breakfasts and lunches some students receive at school can be the only meals they get all day.

His organization is working to fill in those hunger gaps during the summer.

"We work with certain programs in our community," said Johnson. "We call them summer feeding programs, where they're trying to set up distribution locations to provide free lunch to those students to help fill in that gap and that need to find a meal to get them through the day."

Food insecurity levels in Tillamook County are higher than the state average - at nearly 12% compared to about 10%, according to the Oregon Hunger Task Force.

Food insecurity is even higher for kids in the county, at 19%.

The county is home to about 27,000 people. Johnson said the biggest barrier for residents is distance, because of Tillamook's rural nature.

"We have a lot of areas where to get to the nearest emergency food box site, or even a meal site, they could be looking at a 30 minute drive alone," said Johnson. "Let alone a lot of folks that we serve don't have that kind of transportation. So, they're either having to walk or bike."

Johnson noted that people can find local food sites at Oregonfoodfinder.org, which is available in 19 languages.

He said the biggest challenge for food sites in Tillamook County is the need for more volunteers.

"A lot of programs we've seen in the past few years close just because they're just not seeing the volunteers coming in to help them," said Johnson, "and so we're trying our best to get more people involved."



Disclosure: Oregon Food Bank contributes to our fund for reporting on Community Issues and Volunteering, Education, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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