Oregon nonprofits adapt to meet growing food insecurity concerns and local needs

By Regence
May 01, 2020

Dynamic organizations look to shift programs and resources due to COVID-19

Main photo: Boys & Girls Club of the Portland Metropolitan Area (BGCP) 

As COVID-19 continues to impact the health of our communities and bring out the inequities in our system, Oregon-based nonprofits are rapidly adapting their programs to continue serving those in need, while adhering to necessary social distancing guidelines to stop the virus from spreading further.

The economic fallout from COVID-19 has driven hundreds of people and families to seek food assistance, many for the first time, as Oregon’s food pantries and assistance sites report up to a 70% increase in use in the last month. Read about how three local nonprofits are finding innovative ways to fight back against food insecurity.

Sunshine Division meets growing demand through food box delivery expansion

Portland-based Sunshine Division remains committed to providing emergency food and clothing relief to those in need, in partnership with the Portland Police Bureau. As demand for food assistance increased substantially—by more than fourfold—Sunshine Division jumped into action.

Financial support from partners, including a $15,000 donation from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, allowed the expansion of a home delivery program that transports boxes of nutritious food to people who are homebound or manage medical conditions that make them more at risk for COVID-19. For those who can safely travel, food boxes are also available for pickup at one of the nonprofit’s Portland locations. Sunshine Division’s emergency response efforts have enabled delivery of 1,200+ free food boxes every week, amounting to over 34,000 meals.

“Through this expansion, Sunshine Division can reach more families who are in need in the midst of this pandemic,” said Andrew Over, regional market vice president at Regence. “Together, we can ensure all Oregonians have access to fresh, nutritious food.”

Watch this video to learn more about Sunshine Division’s food delivery program and how you can get involved.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Portland Metropolitan Area offers drive-through meal pickup for families

Boys _ Girls Club of Portland Metropolitan Area meal pickup
BGCP’s drive-through meal pickup program serves hundreds of Oregonians each week

The Boys & Girls Club of the Portland Metropolitan Area (BGCP) empowers over 6,400 youth in the Portland area to discover their full potential by providing a range of vital resources, including healthy meals, academic support, counseling services and employment opportunities.

While the Clubs are temporarily closed for public safety, they are still providing online, interactive learning, mental health counseling services and virtual programing to keep young minds engaged. The organization has also taken a creative approach to ensure kids have access to nutritious food throughout the day. In March, the Boys and Girls Club launched a drive-through meal pickup and food-delivery program for families, offering a safe, easy way for them to get 5 days' worth of meals and snacks each week. On average, BGCP distributes thousands of meals every week to those who need it most, supported by community partners like Regence.

Read more about the drive-through meal pickup program and other resources available to families.

Oregon Food Bank partners with likeminded nonprofits to expand delivery options

Regence employees regularly volunteer with the Oregon Food Bank prior to COVID
Regence employees regularly volunteer with the Oregon Food Bank (prior to COVID-19)

In light of COVID-19, the Oregon Food Bank has taken a number of actions to ensure that food is available to all who need it. Over 90% of their 1,400 food assistance sites across Oregon and Southwest Washington continue to distribute food, offering drive or walk-through pickup options. Additionally, partnerships with likeminded organizations PDX COVID-19 Mutual Aid Network and Ride Connection allow for coordinated, weekly deliveries of food to seniors and vulnerable, homebound individuals.

“When any member of our community is at risk, we're all at risk,” said Susannah Morgan, CEO of the Oregon Food Bank. “Our health and well-being are tied to each and every one of our friends, colleagues and neighbors. We're all in this together.”

Fueled by financial support from the state, the community and organizations like Regence—including donations from nearly 400 of our employees—the Oregon Food Bank has delivered over 1 million pounds of food since the start of this crisis.

Join Regence in supporting some of Oregon’s nonprofits

Regence is committed to supporting our communities throughout the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to providing financial support to these organizations, Regence BlueCross BlueShield President Angela Dowling serves on the board of the Oregon Food Bank and our President and Chief Operating Officer, Jared Short, serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Portland.

Join us in the fight against food insecurity by supporting these nonprofits:

Learn more about our philanthropic efforts to support our communities.