Hunger on the rise: Pt. 2

, Posted: Tue, May 13 2014 at 6:18 PM, Updated: Tue, May 13 2014 at 7:29 PM

Grants Pass, Ore. -- Across America, it's estimated that one in every six people is suffering from hunger.

That's put incredible pressure on food banks, who are having a hard time keeping up with the high demand.

Despite the piles of food inside of the Josephine County Food Bank, there are plenty of empty shelves.

"Hunger has and is still a very big issue in Josephine County," said Susan Scheufele, the program manager at the Josephine County Food Bank.

Scheufele from the Josephine County Food Bank says they serve on average 10,500 people any given month. Similar numbers echo throughout our region, and food banks are barely able to keep up with the demand. And it's about to get even worse.

Food donations from the USDA are expected to be down by a million pounds across the state in the next 3 to 6 months.

"That's going to put a dent, a big dent in our food," said Scheufele.

That's why they are relying more than ever on community members to help with the deficit.

Grants Pass resident Isaac Whaley is doing what he can to help.

For him, gardening is more than just a hobby, it's become a way of life.

"Every year I expand more and more. I grow pretty much everything. and I always try to grow something for the food bank," Whaley said.

In his 60 by 60 foot garden, several rows are now dedicated to the food bank.

Whaley got involved a few years ago after the food bank came to Fred Meyer, where he works, asking for seed donations.

"We were able to get them some seeds and get them some starts."

It's still early in the season, but Whaley's already growing everything from lettuce, to tomatoes. 

He says it's simple and anyone can do it.  All you need is plenty of sunlight and water.

He showed NBC 5's Kyle Aevermann that it's even possible to put a plant in a container and place it on your back patio or window sill, if you don't have a large yard.

"It's not about planting a whole row it's putting in one extra plant, it's taking your extra tomato you don't have time to process or your extra lettuce whatever you come across," Whaley said.

Whaley's hard work and dedication has helped the food bank receive a $3,000 grant from Fred Meyer.

Some of that money is being used to fund a large garden for the food bank at Raptor Creek Farms, growing nearly 50,000 pounds of fresh produce.

Scheufele says if you can't garden there are still other ways to help, simply by just volunteering, hosting a food drive, or even donating money.

We can take one dollar and feed a child 4 meals. That's what one dollar can do," said Scheufele.

All it takes is a little effort to make a big difference.

 Making a Difference

Throughout the year, food banks have several volunteer opportunities. The Josephine County Food Bank will host a volunteer planting day at the end of May at Raptor Creek Farms.

Below is a list of county food banks with contact information to find out how you can get involved.

Coos & Curry County

Oregon Coast Community Action
P.O. Box 899,
Coos Bay, OR 97420

97829 Shopping Ctr. Ave, Ste F,
Harbor, OR 97415


Del Norte County

Rural Human Services
286 M Street, Suite D.
Crescent City, CA 95531
707-464-7441 ext. 259

Douglas County

United Community Action Network: Food Shares Division
284 Kenneth Ford Drive
Roseburg, OR 97470


Jackson County

3630 Aviation Way
Medford, OR 97504


Josephine County

Josephine County Food Bank
1470 SE M. St.
Grants Pass, OR 97526


Klamath & Lake County

Klamath-Lake Counties Food Bank
3231 Maywood Drive
Klamath Falls, Oregon

Siskiyou County

Great Northern Corporation
780 S. Davis Ave.
Weed, CA 96094


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