While 270,000 of Portlanders go hungry, our region throws away over 200,000 tons of food each year. 92,000 of our food-insecure friends and neighbors are children in need, yet we spend over $18 million to truck unsold food to landfills.
What is food insecurity?
According to Feeding America, “food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Food insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.”
In Portland’s Multnomah County, where St. Johns Food Share is based, 14.9% of households are food insecure.
Yet, Fork it Over reports 40% of food in the United States goes uneaten. The costs in human energy, rising hunger statistics and food disposal fees are staggering.
Hunger impacts us from all sides. Children fall behind in school, seniors go without healthy meals, under-served and communities of color struggle to survive in “food deserts” where poor access to affordable, healthy foods makes each day a struggle.
Fortunately interest in meeting food insecurity challenges while saving healthy food is growing in Portland. Our generous food donor partners recognize the urgent need in our community. We work together to bridge the gap between hunger and food security, while keeping healthy food on the table – instead of in the landfill.