May 18th Virtual Meeting With Food Bank Leadership Highlights & Summary

NEXT ZOOM Session June 1st 1:00-2:30 pm Nancy McKinnis, AllCare facilitator Program TBA

If you don’t step forward, you are always in the same place.

– Nora Roberts, writer

Highlights & Summary Notes
Jefferson e Funders Forum
May 18th 2020

Jefferson Funders Forum brings together public and private philanthropic leadership to share information, perspectives and experiences; cooperatively explore and leverage resources to positively impact communities in southern Oregon and northern California.

Levels of Engagement: I. Communication and Information Sharing; II. Learning Together; III. Planning for Collective & Collaborative Action IV. Action

ZOOM Facilitator – Amy Drake, Oregon Community Foundation- Southern Oregon 

I. Communication & Information Sharing:

  • Participants included: Bill Thorndike, NW Health Foundation; Anne Golden, Threshold Foundation & United Way of Jackson County; Amy Drake & John Moriarty, Oregon Community Foundation; Laura Olson, Smullin Foundation; Marie Simonds and Paula Thompson, Wild Rivers Coast Alliance; Judy Basker, Rogue Community College; Kathy Bryon, Larry Nicholson & Jennifer Staton, Gordon Elwood Foundation; Sam Engel & Deborah  Ameen, AllCare;  Nancy Mc Kinnis & Samantha Watson, Jackson Care Connect; Jen Shafer, United Way of SW Oregon; Alice Cushman, Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation; Kelly Bruggeman & Stacey Black, First Interstate Foundation; Sarah McGregor, UCAN Douglas County;  Robert Given, Philanthropist representing a number of trusts; Kim Brick & David Navarro, Oregon Coast Community Action; Carrie Hanson, Chaney, West and Dubs Family Foundations; Katie Hutchinson, Dutch Bros; Dee Ann Harris, Leightman Maxey Foundation; Tammie Henriks,Danielle Crystal, Philanthropy Northwest; Emily Mostue, Carpenter Foundation; Peter Salant, GAG Charitable Trust & Medford Schools Foundation; Laura Williams, Advanced Health; Matt Epstein, Epstein Family Foundation; Nikki Sampson, Klamath County Food Bank; Chris Bosse, ACCESS Jackson County; Sara Stephens, South Coast Early Learning Hub; Kim Collins, Josephine County Food Bank. 

*guests in red

  • Check-in: Everyone shared a word that continues to come to mind or heart. Few of the words shared included – hope, collaboration, solidarity, food, grace, supportive, give back, courage, connection, community partnership, compassion, team work, wondering, rain, intentionality, overwhelmed, partnerships, resumption, layers, resilience, resourcefulness, innovation, humility, intention, resilient, kindness, rest,  logistics, kindness, vacation. 

II.  Learning Together and Dialogue: Regional Food Realities & Access for diverse populations in communities in   southern Oregon 

  • Guests sharing their experience & perspectives included:

Sarah McGregor, UCAN Douglas County

Kim Brick & David Navarro, Oregon Coast Community Action Coos & Curry Counties

Kim Collins, Josephine County Food Bank, Josephine County

Niki Sampson, Klamath County Food Bank, Klamath County

Chris Bosse, ACCESS Jackson County

  • Sarah McGregor, UCAN Douglas County:

Douglas County immediately saw a 49% surge in food needs from the beginning of stay at home orders mid-March from the same time a year earlier. 29% increase from the month before

  • All pantries in Douglas County with the exception of one are open and operating with modified services. These include direct box distribution and mobile food pantry in four locations.  UCAN is reaching out to the north Douglas County which is an area where more assistance is needed and has been historically underserved. 
  • They are receiving less food from the Oregon Food Bank network.
  • FEMA and state funding have allowed local food purchases from local farms, in turn building new relationships. 
  • They are stocking the warehouse and pantry as much as possible, anticipating a surge in needs once families have spent stimulus money and other assistance comes to an end. They are looking into pop-up pantries but are short on staff with only 2FTE’s currently taking care of all outreach services.  All in all they are “weathering the storm”. 


Can you clarify expected loss of funding? 

  • Fundraising events will not be able to happen in the same way. Upcoming events will have to be cancelled or modified and there are a lot of unknowns. Empty Bowls is an annual event that will not be able to take place. 
  • Currently not “selling food” to other social service programs (a reduced per pound rate that has been a stable resource for programs serving children, individuals and families) This is not a money making process, but we want to maintain our food supply and provide food free to people in need vs sell given the unknown future. 

How will this funding shift look for the organization down the line?

  • Looking into next fiscal year we are asking how long can organization sustain this level of food distribution and the people power needed to distribute in the variety of ways? The staff are working very hard, how long can they endure the workload? They are hoping that the Cares Act funds might replace the private fundraising they would be doing to keep food in their food bank.  

Projecting out, what are you preparing for? 

  • The staff meets weekly and will begin soon to outline what the next one- six months will look like. They will continue to use the same model, not allowing partner agencies in the warehouse and stick to food boxes to adhere to social distancing. They will adapt fundraising strategies and continue to send letters to donors and look to foundations as possible resources. 

Can share hopeful/inspirational story? 

  • UCAN opened up food distribution to staff families, many who had never received assistance before. Out of the 40 staff families who came out, 36 had never been to the pantry. There was an amazing feeling of gratitude and connection for the staff to be able to help their own UCAN team.  
  • Kim Brick & David Navarro, Oregon Coast Community Action Coos & Curry Counties:

Oregon Coast Community Action (ORCCA) saw a 60% increase in those accessing the food panty over the last month (April). In Mid-March the Response Team was activated and 737 families were identified immediately in need of food support. There was a 28% increase from the previous month and 32% increase beyond the previous year. 

  • Their team has moved to a four day work week to increase productivity and attempt to mitigate staff burn out. 
  • They are serving families not typically served and have increased delivery and food purchases to respond to the need. They have developed partnership with North Bend Community Center and staffed with Head Start staff (Head Start is under the umbrella of ORCCA.) 
  • Head Start staff is delivering food boxes along with other essential needs. They are working on designing a six month plan, looking to the end of the year and into the next year. 
  • They are partnering with Bandon Cheese Factory, the local fishing industry, community centers, and the community college, to provide warehouse space, temporary locations that will fall within the social distancing guidelines for food box preparation and freezer and cooler space for fresh food. They also are concerned about loss of funding for purchasing food and have already been trying to juggle the loss of volunteers, and the need for more staff, while trying to be creative with an ever growing need.  Local partnerships have been incredible. 
  • Staff need to set aside time for strategic thinking about the next 1-12 months. 

Question: Can you speak more about Curry food pantry and Curry County meal sites?

  • Distributions are going out to Curry County pantries and have increased to two deliveries per week. Currently all food pantries are open and operating. ORCCA’s warehouse is in Coos County and is not large enough for the demand, so the additional community spaces have made a big difference. 
  • Brookings Headstart was the first center to deploy their staff and bus drivers to deliver food to their families. The school district is providing meals, Head Start center is providing meal distributions and Brooking has a pilot food share, building food boxes with Head Start staff providing delivery. 
  • Kim Collins, Josephine County Food Bank, Josephine County:

Josephine County Food Bank was surprised that numbers were actually lower, but the wright of food distributed was greater. low numbers last month

  • Conversations with Oregon Food Bank suggest that because of the increase in SNAP benefits, unemployment increase and stimulus checks the immediate issue may be less but the longer term needs may increase once those funds run out.  
  • They are providing pop up pantries in Selma, Wolf Creek, where the need is extremely high. In March they served 653 in Selma and in April it went up to 1138.
  • The Wolf Creek area does not have a grocery store and serves a high (75%) homeless population. They distributed to 768 people in March and 1064 in April. People are actually coming out of the woods. 
  • They are purchasing food locally but stock goes out as fast as it comes in.
  • Kim is the new executive director arriving in January 

Question: Where is the JOCO Food Bank getting the majority of their food? 

  • The bulk of food usually comes from Oregon Food Bank; additionally, they received two truckloads from the LDS church which carried them for about two weeks. Oregon Food Bank as also provided money to purchase food locally. 
  • They are getting very low on can food and will start to reach out to the community to replace canned food items (9,000’s – tuna, chili, soup). 
  • They are anticipating the next wave of needs in next few months and will look to other organizations for support. They not at all sure about the future. 

 A good story from Kim’s perspective is the teamwork that happened during this time and in her first months with the Jo Co Food Bank. She is grateful to the team and the staff for such a supportive transition of leadership. They became a family overnight as a result of this crisis.

  • Niki Sampson, Kamath County Food Bank, Klamath County: (See Attached Report from Niki)

Niki shared some historical context on the Klamath Food Bank – The food bank used to be located at Kingsley Air Force Base for their first location. She began in her position in 1997 there on the base. In 2001 with the 911 incident, the base was not the best location due to security issues. But thanks to a grant, she found a new facility which became operational.  They have learned lessons from serving during crisis times. 

  • The KFB serves 18,000 square miles that houses 75,000 residents in total. 75% of their resources is raised privately. 21% poverty rate in the county. 
  • During the water crisis the food bank jumped from serving 5000-12000 people and then again during 9/11 with limited access to food they had a temporary location off base.  
  • The food bank feels blessed with community support. Over the years they have had to reduce the hours and work to become self-reliant.  
  • 75% of the revenue is from community and private sector. 
  • They have no debt and are a community owned food bank. 
  • During this crisis beginning mid-March they received grant from KMSB to buy food. They are working with Thunderbird Market and the LDS church provided 42,000 pounds.
  • They provided 2.2 million pounds of food put together by 1250 volunteers to 10 satellite pantries and 100 partner food programs for 5,000 households. 
  • They do not distribute from their warehouse, but purchase and distribute to pantries and partner organizations at no cost. (some county food bank programs recover some of the Oregon Food Bank costs of transportation through minimal food share fees or sales fees.)
  • They have spent $95,000 for food purchasing since mid March. This is a 75% increase over last year at the same time
  • They are seeing a 70% increase in need from last April to this April. 
  • Right now they are receiving produce only one time a week and volunteers are separating for allocation. 
  • Usually they will receive 1 million pounds of produce from the Oregon Food Bank, but that is on hold because of limited volunteer packing space. 
  • Niki personally answered 2,000 calls since March, 75% are for comfort and 25% want to help out. 
  • In April the food bank sent letters to the community and 2,000 phone calls were made in the area. 
  • They have concerns about donor fatigue, how long will this last, and what’s to come. 
  • She has an added concern for her community because of the early water crisis this year. It creates a “double whammy”. 
  • Summer Food Program includes what they call “the peanut and jelly program, kid friendly food in each food box and distributed between pantries every 150 miles. 
  • Chris Bosse, ACCESS Jackson County:

In the past month Access has seen a 60-70% increase in numbers served. Distributed 5.2 million pounds last year. 

  • The Medford food pantry is closed due to volunteer risk, using drive up process. 
  • Rural pantries are staying open. They are building food boxes and will continue to do so over next few months. 
  • They have created drive-through pantries allowing volunteers with personal protective gear to place boxes in vehicles. 
  • They are expecting a surge in need over next few months and are keeping as much on hand as possible. 
  • They are collaborating with Family Nurturing Center, AllCare, Jackson Housing Authority to provide home deliveries. 
  • They have received an outpouring of support from the community and local businesses. A local trucking company is providing delivery service from ACCESS to food pantries, bread to Klamath Falls, keeping their employees employed. 
  • Sherm’s Market has been great support.
  • With funds donated here they buy local food from growers and farmers. 
  • The staff is also working 4, ten-hour days. 
  • They work through one of their employees to reach out to the Latino community. 

General Dialogue and Inquiry:

How are food banks supporting children in summer? 

Niki, Klamath County Food Bank – They are seeing an uptick in the summer “Peanut Butter & Jelly” program and will be providing more “kid friendly” food in food boxes to those families who are 15-150 miles away and may not come into town for summer lunch service from school districts. 

Kim Brick, Oregon Coast Community Action – They are partnering with school district and providing Head Strat families with food deliveries. Weekly bulletins will announce where meals are being served and other food related information. The plan is the deliver through July, not sure after that. They are working with food bank to build a plan for children and families.  

Chris Bosse, ACCESS, Jackson County-For summer they will be working with the schools/food pantries and families to meet food needs of students. 

How can funders impact these food programs by “going upstream” of the need? Policy & Advocacy Ideas for  funders to legislators? 

  • Track what is happening to get ahead of the individual donor fatigue. 
  • Expanding the number of Full time employees to support the increased need that is projected would really help keep the supply chain of food bank support to families and individuals going. 
  • There may be a very big influx of need when the recovery bills are due.

Policy Advocacy or Systems Change:

  • Day Care for employees to get back to work and not requiring food supplement. 
  • Vocational training to increase family wage jobs. 
  • Increase the poverty line to support more families who are struggling. 
  • Plan and create infrastructure that supports crisis for food storage, refrigeration not a “just in time” approach. 
  • What about thinking ahead for the BEST Practices in Crisis?
  • Raise the SNAP benefit bar, release some of the requirements 
  • Create a Second Wave stabilization strategy

Contact information for guests: 

Sarah McGregor, UCAN Douglas County 



Kim Brick & David Navarro, Oregon Coast Community Action Coos & Curry Counties



Kim Collins, Josephine County Food Bank, Josephine County



Niki Sampson, Klamath County Food Bank, Klamath County



Chris Bosse, ACCESS Jackson County



Thank you to Matt Epstein who suggested asking today’s participants two questions to follow up.  Thank you to the few of you who responded by Wednesday evening. I encourage you to offer any feedback you might have to the full learning community after reading what your colleagues have offered:

  • What was one takeaway from today’s meeting with the Curry/Coos; Douglas; Josephine County; Jackson County and Klamath Food Bank leaders?
  • Our funds (from Dutch Bros Foundation) are helpful to purchase local supply. Making a difference for not just the food bank but local businesses.
  • Increased demand is hand-in-hand with the kids being out of school. So many of them depended on school lunches!
  • Needs are not just financial. The Food Banks could use: volunteers, delivery assistance, access to other supplies, etc.
  • We are looking for ways to engage in communities most impacted and using our resources- beyond just financial- to make a difference.
  • I was surprised by the amount of homelessness projected in the Wolf Creek area.  General theme, there’s a lot of need out there.  Be prepared for round 2.
  • The importance of preparing for the second wave;
  • The potential for donor fatigue in our communities; 
  • I hear some of the same worries with the looming challenge for quality child care; we can’t afford to provide a living wage and therefore, our children are short changed; 
  • I’ve been thinking about food banks but it was interesting to hear the participants share their concerns about loss of fundraising, earned-income (thrift store revenue), donor fatigue and that the need will be long-term, and potentially there could be a devastating resurgence of the virus and/or a concurrent disaster, like fire, drought or ??  
  • We’ve been holding back on funding now (after having sent out emergency grants to meet emerging needs in March), in order to ensure the foundation will have some resources later in the year in case things get rough at a time when donors are tapped out.
  • Each leader described different “business models” to address their various client(s) they serve.
  • Geographic (rural & urban) and client characteristics varied in each location. “One size” approach won’t work.
  • Leaders communicated well the issues and creative approaches to the issues they are facing and addressing. Some issues and approaches were consistent… others were unique… to the counties they served.
  • I sit on calls with Oregon Coast Community Action/South Coast Food Share pretty regularly, and I was still overwhelmed by the needs expressed by this team. 
  • Not sure of a tangible ‘takeaway’ but it was both validating and humbling to hear from the other organizations about the immense shared need to address food insecurity across our region. 
  • How might JeFF be of support or be of assistance, beyond funds for food, to these leaders/food bank programs & leaders? 
  • The best these we can do is continue these meetings so rural areas can be heard and share ideas.  
  • There’s a feeling of hopelessness in rural areas.  These meetings help promote ideas and feedback.  Helps volunteers feel like they are part of a large team.
  • Looking at infrastructure for stability – building the community coalitions that have been used in places like Iceland to Track and Trace and hold the community accountable for healthy behaviors.
  • Given how many people wanted to have a vacation, explore how we might offer “hazard pay” to reward some of the nonprofit staff who are exhausted or may be thinking “I’m better off on unemployment!”
  • Food Banks will continue to need financial resources for sure.  I sense that, like Humboldt County’s food bank, they also need capacity because they are currently stretched very thin.  
    • An example, I am helping in Humboldt by working with the Food Bank to try to figure out how Summer Lunch programs will operate this year.  The Food Bank has its hands full just meeting current needs and didn’t have time to try to coordinate with the @20 sites across the county that they have worked with in the past to get lunches to kids throughout the summer.  Schools will stop providing lunches in June and there will be tremendous need.  Summer programs (like parks & rec camps) are scrambling to figure out how to operate, if at all.  The funding stream the food bank has accessed in the past through the California Department of Education for summer meals has strict requirements for eating on site, food handling etc.  We may try to provide funding through the local funders so that the food bank and sites will have more flexibility to get lunches out to kids in the way that makes the most sense for families.  I’m calling each site and surveying them about whether they are planning a program, what they are expecting their need to be and what capacities they will have to get meals out this summer.  Then I will help the food bank put a funding request together for our North Coast Grantmaking Partnership.  
  • Maybe ask food banks what capacity they need and, if funders don’t have time to help directly, maybe pay for a temp or consultant to help them.
  • Also in Humboldt County the Community Foundation made a grant to our Food Policy Council to spearhead some collaborative purchasing so that the organizations that distribute food and serve meals can make better use of resources and also prioritize buying locally.  I’m not sure how that’s going, but in theory it makes sense.
  • Follow up with guests Food Bank leaders on what they learned and what take-away(s) they had from participating.
  • Determine guests’ interest in and the opportunity of : 
    • Convening in SoOre(?). 
    • Describing, sharing & documenting their biz models,
    • look for similarities and differences,
    • Identify opportunities to learn from other county’s approaches
    • Encourage them to build an electronic check in network to discuss or post issues and allow other Food Bank leaders to offer solution ideas.
  • Explore above ideas and opportunities with Ore Food Bank Sr management to help strengthen their field management staff and programs.
  • Collective advocacy for fair living wages, affordable housing, health care (for individuals, for services in our area especially mental health), and jobs (in all sectors including tech, sustainability, trades)… funding for affordable housing, financial literacy/training programs, vocational training programs…  anything to help address the root cause. 
  • Storage buildings and food help, of course, but they are band aids to the larger economic issues that cause food insecurity.

Notes respectfully captured and offered by 

Jennifer Staton & Kathy Bryon

Gordon Elwood Foundation