Home Archives June 2009 Feeding Oregon

Feeding Oregon

| Print |  Email
Monday, June 01, 2009
ATSRachelBristolOregon Food Bank CEO Rachel Bristol is looking for ways to grow the food bank's supplies as more Oregonians face hunger because of the recession.
Photo by Anthony Pidgeon
In 1983, Oregon Food Bank CEO Rachel Bristol began her career battling hunger as an AmeriCorps volunteer, helping develop the state’s burgeoning food bank system. Now 26 years later, Bristol leads Oregon’s $50 million food bank network, whose 106 employees, 25,000 volunteers and 915 member agencies help feed more than 210,000 people every month with emergency food boxes, serve millions of emergency meals and help an additional 87,000 people through programs at daycares and senior centers. But Bristol isn’t satisfied with the 58 million pounds of food that moved through the statewide system last year, not while the number of people seeking emergency food is at record levels.


What is the biggest challenge facing the Oregon Food Bank?

Our biggest challenge is growing the food supply at a pace that can keep up with the growing need. We are not meeting our goals for growing the food supply through donated sources. We’re just keeping our noses above water by buying a lot of food.


How is the OFB securing additional food and financial resources?


Oregon Food Bank used some of its strategic plan funds to launch a program called Farmers Ending Hunger. That group is working directly with farmers who commit to planned production for the food bank. Wheat growers donate wheat that will produce baking mix and dairy farmers donate “retired cows” which brings in ground beef. We’re investing a significant amount of capital equipment in Fresh Alliance, a retail recovery program which is kind of the last untapped low-hanging fruit.


You’ve gotten creative with the partnerships you’ve formed.

Back in the early 1990s, the first time the USDA commodities took a major nosedive, we had to find ways to handle more direct product from the farm, more fresh product, more frozen product. We began thinking of food donations as not just in and out but as ingredients. Years ago we would have said we can’t get anyone to take a 50-gallon drum of tomato paste. But we have developed partnerships over time so now if we get a donation like that we can turn it into tomato soup or turn French fries into potato soup.


Which organizations have been some of your strongest partners?

There are a number: Fred Meyer, Safeway, NORPAC Foods, Pacific Natural Food, NW Natural, Montecucco Farms, Pendleton Wheat Growers, USF Reddaway Trucking and Henningsen Cold Storage. In just about every aspect of this complex system, there is an element of donation involved in getting the job done.


Will any of the 915 member agencies likely close?

We always live in fear of that. As things tighten up it may be an impetus for several small programs to come together to create improved access. That could result in some improved service or ways to better manage the flow of inventory.


How will the economy affect your five-year plan which calls for increasing supplies and Oregonians served?

We are six months into this strategic plan. It seems too early to go back and rewrite it. But we have recognized a crisis, and that’s why we can’t wait five years to grow our inventory by 10 million pounds. We need those extra million pounds a month now.
NICOLE STORMBERG
 

More Articles

Wheel man

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.


Read more...

How to boost web traffic

News
Thursday, April 10, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY  | OB WEB EDITOR

04.10.14 thumb seo-trafficSEMpdx hosted a workshop this week for entrepreneurs, website developers and others interested in search engine optimization (SEO).  Here are a few tips and tricks aimed at bumping up your search engine rankings.


Read more...

Spring thaw

News
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Spring ThawBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

The “polar vortex” of 2014 seems to have finally thawed and we believe this change in weather will bring more sunshine to the U.S. economy as well.


Read more...

Powerlist: Meeting perspectives

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BY BRANDON SAWYER

A conversation about the event-planning industry with sales directors from McMenamins and the Portland Art Museum. 


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 33 Small Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

Barrister bands

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4691BY LINDA BAKER

An intellectual property attorney by day, 48-year-old Stoll Berne attorney Tim DeJong is a singer and guitarist by night.


Read more...

Are millennials reshaping politics in the Pacific Northwest?

News
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

MillennialsThumbA new report explores the impact of millennials on Oregon's business and political climate.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS