This week, MFS went to the capital in support of the Oregon Hunger Response Fund!
MFS Community Schools Program Quality Coordinator Helen Vank went to Salem to testify in front of the House Committee on Human Services and Housing at the request of Oregon Food Bank in support of HB 2881, which would add back funds to the Oregon Hunger Response Fund.
“I spoke for about 3 and half minutes and gave information about the following points:
I was at Shaver as the MFS SUN site manager in 2011 when be began food pantry distributions. At that time the county was asking us to serve 40 families twice a month at each of our 4 pilot pantries. We now serve on average 400 families weekly in our 4 current east county school-based pantries.
We saw increased engagement and participation of parents in response to our pantries. They took ownership and advised us on everything from layout to types of food we could offer.
I told the story of one single mother who was homeless after leaving a DV situation and started coming to the pantry to help feed her 4 children. A friend encouraged her to volunteer, which she did regularly and soon started taking English classes in our SUN program. The pantry allowed her to practice her English and gain leadership skills and she eventually found a job and stable housing.
I shared about our 2 leadership teams of student volunteers at DDHS, and how as part of their volunteer service they will learn about how to translate that experience into skills and experience they can use on job and college applications.
I told them about the increase in demand we’ve seen just this year at DDHS, starting around 175 families and now regularly seeing over 225, and hitting 240 as a record.
I told them how we don’t just provide food, but see it as an opportunity to provide resources and skills from our own Financial Capabilities education to resources from other providers.
I told them not to just look at pantries as a place to get food, but other opportunities to move past their current situation.”
Thank you, Helen!
Learn more about MFS Hunger Relief programs here: https://www.metfamily.org/