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Oregon, Washington Farmers Donate 85,000 Pounds of Food to Local Food BanksSalem-News.com
Farmers in Oregon and Washington donate an average of 13.5 million pounds of food every year.
(PORTLAND, Ore. ) - Food banks in Washington and Oregon received the equivalent of more than 85,000 pounds of food from the 2nd Annual Northwest Farmers Fighting Hunger Cash/Food Drive - nearly 50 percent more than the 58,000 pounds donated in 2013.
The campaign, a joint effort between the states' Dairy Products Commissions, Departments of Agriculture, food banks and Fred Meyer, ran throughout June Dairy Month to raise awareness of the increased need for food and donations during the summer, when children have less access to school breakfast and lunch programs.
Oregon Department of Agriculture Director, Katy Coba, and Washington State Department of Agriculture Director, Bud Hover, supported the campaign with a friendly competition to see which state could generate the most food and funds.
Oregon won the competition and will take the Director's Trophy with $9,000 raised and 10,500 pounds of donated food. Pacific Foods in Tualatin, Ore., donated nearly half the total raised, with 500 gallons of shelf stable milk for families in need.
"We appreciate the efforts of the Dairy Farmers of Oregon to raise food and funds for Oregon Food Bank," said Susannah Morgan, CEO of Oregon Food Bank. "Milk, yogurt and cheese are key components in healthy meals, especially for children."
Cash donations were emphasized in order to take full advantage of the purchasing power of the Oregon Food Bank Network. Funds raised from Northwest Farmers Fighting Hunger will help get more nutrient-rich dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt into emergency food boxes.
The campaign included collection barrels throughout Fred Meyer stores, as well as events at selected stores in Oregon and Washington throughout the month. Kickoff events were held for the respective states in downtown Portland and at the Washington State Capitol. Contributions were also accepted at the campaign website.
"Northwest Farmers Fighting Hunger draws attention to the need for food during summer months when school breakfast and lunch programs are not operating," said Oregon Ag Director Coba, noting that Northwest farmers show their commitment to fight hunger by donating more than 13.5 million pounds of food to the states' food banks each year. "We hope the partnership will grow and strengthen so that, together, we can make sure no one in the Northwest goes to bed hungry."
"Partnering with Washington and Oregon dairy farmers in a combined effort to fight childhood hunger means a lot to our entire employee team," said Melinda Merrill, Manager of Community Affairs for Fred Meyer. "The annual Northwest Farmers Fighting Hunger program is one step toward combating hunger."
Source: Oregon Department of Agriculture
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