Rogue Valley food pantries experiencing surge in demand

SOUTHERN OREGON, —This Thanksgiving many are dealing with food insecurity in southern Oregon. The demand for food banks in Jackson County has surged.

The Ashland Emergency Food Bank and Access have both seen the impacts of food insecurity firsthand. The two say more people are struggling to put food on the table this year.

Over the last several months, the Ashland Emergency Food Bank has seen a drastic increase in demand. In October, it says 80 new families were in need of food. Now, it’s grown 2 to 3 times what a typical increase would be.

“It has been a climb we had a lot come in July we’d never seen, even more in August more in September, and 80 in October so it’s a pretty consistent pattern at this point,” said Amy Broeker, Executive Director of the emergency food bank.

Broeker says inflation is playing a huge factor.

“A number of the people that we serve are working households, these are folks who are at least one person earning in the household and often two people, these are seniors on a fixed income who cannot make ends meet,” said Broeker.

Access is also noticing the same increase in demand at its pantries.

“If we look at the past year and the challenges that have occurred with costs going up the way we have we really are seeing that impact on people’s ability to go to the grocery store and get the things they need,” said Marcee Champion, Access Food Programs Director.

It’s holding its annual Food for Hope donation drive to supply its pantries with food. Champion says their goal is to collect 10,000 pounds of food. As well as $30,000 to support its programs.

“We have seen a significant increase this year in the need for food, our pantry visits at some pantries have gone up by 80% so a lot of people just struggling to get those basics to their families onto their tables, said Champion.

Here are some free Thanksgiving meals in the Rogue Valley.

First Christian Church will have a free dinner from 2 to 5 p.m. at 1900 Crater Lake Avenue in Medford.

In Central Point, it’ll be held at the Point Pub and Grill from 11 a.m. To 2 p.m.

Then over in Ashland,  Southern Oregon Jobs With Justice is giving out meals at Pioneer Hall from 1 to 4pm.

All, making sure no one goes hungry, this Thanksgiving.

If you’re looking to help out the Ashland Emergency Food Bank you can learn more here.

To get involved with Access and its Food For Hope fundraiser click here.

For more information on meals, click here.

NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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