May 23, 2024

Viewpoint: Kotek may add funds to fight hunger, but Ashland Emergency Food Bank relies on local support, not state aid

Jason Houk, operations assistant at the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, helps collect food during the final Ashland Food Project drop-off day of 2022 on Dec. 10. photo by Holly Dillemuth
March 8, 2023

The nonprofit, which serves Ashland and Talent residents, does not receive government money; it is supported by community generosity

By Amey Broeker

A recent article in reported that Gov. Tina Kotek is seeking $7.5 million in state funding to assist the Oregon Food Bank to help Oregonians facing food security issues. With the end of SNAP COVID-19 emergency allotments, people in need will see a sudden and significant decline in support. As an example, one of our senior clients reported their benefits going from $200 a month to $20 a month. It’s great to see Kotek and the Oregon Legislature stepping up to try and fill that void as food prices continue to rise.

And it is also worth remembering that the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, serving residents of Ashland and Talent, is an entirely private nonprofit organization. As a private entity, we keep barriers to service, and administrative costs, to a minimum. Not being government funded, we are not permitted the resources of the Oregon Food Bank (like ACCESS in Medford), meaning none of the new state funding will come our way.

The food bank was founded 50 years ago by Ashland residents looking to help their neighbors facing difficulties during the first oil embargo, when food costs and food insecurity rose. Starting out in a garage, and growing into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group, we are governed by a local board of directors, aided by a loyal group of volunteers and a wonderful paid staff of three, the food bank considers itself an important part of the community. 

50 years of service to Ashland

For a half a century we have stayed true to our original model, helping our neighbors by providing them with food upon request, at no cost, with minimal barriers. Our donors, our staff, and our volunteers make that happen Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at our building at 560 Clover Lane. We serve more than 500 households, about 1,500 people, every month.

We are proud to remain a private nonprofit, able to help our neighbors without qualification or means testing as would be the case if government funded. If you live in Ashland or Talent, whatever your situation, and struggle with food security, the Ashland Emergency Food Bank is here to help you without any question of need.  We ask for your current ID to verify your residency. We do not ask for your income or require any other information.  If you are unhoused, we have programs to help you too. In addition to our food purchases of $15,000 to $20,000 per month, we receive shelf-stable goods from our friends at the Ashland Food Project, and perishables from Food Angels, to provide food to anyone who arrives at our door. In addition, we support our many partners, from the food pantries at the Ashland Library and Senior Center, to those that prepare hot meals such as Peace House and Southern Oregon Jobs With Justice.

It’s up to our community

It’s wonderful that Kotek recognizes the impact of the coming shift in federal support and is looking to help. Our food bank continues to survive without government funds because of your generosity. We are grateful to have your support so we can continue to serve our neighbors in need. 

Amey Broeker is executive director of the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. To contact the food bank, go to

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