Your AARP ; Oregon News
Community Action Teams forming
Help to Fight Hunger
Arlene Hornschuch is one very busy lady. For more than five years, Hornschuch, 75, has
volunteered at the Tualatin School House
Pantry, located on the lower level of Rolling
Hills Community Church in Tualatin. Her
primary job is coordinating other volunteers for shopping with clients, stocking
shelves and repackaging food.
For all this she gets paid absolutely nothing. “I have the time and feel the need to
help others,” she said.
During the last few years, Hornschuch
has seen quite an increase in the number of
clients—many of whom are her age—
looking for food to put on their table.
‘Need is growing drastically’
The numbers are staggering. In 2004, the
pantry served an average of 175 families a
month, said Tracy Smith, Tualatin’s program coordinator. That number jumped to
around 500 in 2010, and this summer the
pantry served 660 families a month.
“The need is growing drastically as unemployment has run out, and, as other food
banks are running out of food, more are
coming to ours,” Smith said.
According to the Oregon Food Bank,
260,000 people per month in Oregon and
southwest Washington eat meals from
emergency food boxes as a result of the
growing levels of long-term unemployment. For the first time, more than 1 million
emergency food boxes were distributed by
the Oregon Food Bank last year.
Julie Piper Finley, director of marketing and communications for Loaves &
Fishes Centers, said attendance in their 36
centers and dining rooms in the Portland
metro area—which serves Multnomah and
Washington counties and Clark County in
Washington—increased 20 percent in 2010
over the previous year.
“The reason is primarily economy-driv-
en,” Piper Finley said. “People are living on
fixed incomes and/or their retirement sav-
ings, and investments have lost value.”
For 41 years, Loaves & Fishes has provid-
ed meals for people over 60 regardless of
income, but there is still a perception that it
only serves the poor.
What alarms AARP Oregon are the older
people who are going hungry in the state.
An AARP Foundation report said hunger
among Americans 50 and older has jumped
nearly 80 percent nationwide since 2001.
Stigma of asking for help
In Oregon, 7. 25 percent of those over 50 are
considered at risk of hunger, and only 22
percent of low-income residents over 60
are enrolled in the federal Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly
called food stamps.
To highlight the problem of hunger
among older people head on, AARP, the
AARP Foundation and NASCAR Sprint Cup
Series champ Jeff Gordon have collaborated on a national Drive to End Hunger.
“It’s all about raising awareness,” said
Bandana Shrestha, director of community
engagement for AARP Oregon. “There are
many reasons why senior hunger is hidden,
and one of the reasons is the stigma” of asking for and accepting help.
AARP Oregon has encouraged its members across the state to volunteer at local
food banks. Plans are also under way for a
winter “night at the movies” event to benefit local food banks across the state.
Shrestha urged members to get involved by
joining local Community Action Teams, volunteer groups that work on various issues,
including hunger, affecting those 50-plus.
People interested in joining a team should
email email@example.com or call 1-866-554-
5360 toll-free. Others who prefer to start
their own project are encouraged to visit
createthegood.org, AARP’s volunteer website. There they can find information on
volunteering and downloadable tool kits.
“If more people are involved in addressing
the issue, it means more people involved in
solving the problem,” Shrestha said.
—By Andrew Tuttle
For other state news, go to
The estimated dollar value of a volunteer hour for
each state, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands for 2009.
Value of Volunteers
* VALUE IS BASED
ON THE AVERAGE
WAGE OF NON-MANAGEMEN T,
SUCH AS DOCTORS
OR LAW YERS.