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Hunger doesn't take a summer vacation

TIM CURRAN
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO

During a distribution of fresh food and produce for low-income families at Impact NW's Dancing Tree Family Center in east Portland, nine-year-old Jadyn Robertson eyes yogurt volunteer Jerry Hall readies for her and mom Joyce. The event was part of Summer Harvest Week, an annual product of the collaboration between Oregon Food Bank and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon.
Mid-county Memo/Tim Curran
Last month, employee volunteers from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and Oregon Food Bank workers distributed more than 3,500 pounds of fresh food and produce to 100 low-income families at Impact NW's Dancing Tree Family Center in east Portland.

The event, designed to raise awareness of childhood hunger and healthy options for families, was part of Summer Harvest Week, one segment of Regence's three-year commitment of funds, food and time to OFB.

During Summer Harvest Week-July 22 to 29-Regence employees hold food drives and volunteer at OFB regional food bank facilities across the state.

In Oregon, where one in five children is food insecure according to the OFB, collaborative programs like this are necessary.

Recipients ran the gamut from very young to very old, from recently arrived Afghan, Russian and Mexican immigrants, who spoke little or no English, to black and white native-born.

Eddie Evans, a NW Impact client and first time recipient of the extra food said, “This is great-what they're doing here; I really appreciate it.” He added, “This will help. Every little bit helps.”

Joyce Robertson and her nine-year-old daughter Jadyn, who live in Lents, and took the bus and train to be there said, “This is nice they do this for people. My daughter really loves the fresh food. It was definitely worth the trip.”

“Hunger is preventable, but it takes the support of the entire community to ensure we all have access to fresh, nutritious food that fuels healthy lifestyles,” said Don Antonucci, president, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. “Regence employees love supporting Summer Harvest Week and the Oregon Food Bank, and we've got our sights set on topping the 31,000 meals [Regence] supplied in 2012.”

A strong OFB partner for more than a decade, Regence and its employees collaborate with the Oregon Food Bank, supporting fundraising events that include OFB's Harvest Dinner and the annual Waterfront Blues Festival.

Since 2011, Regence has donated more than $250,000 to OFB and served more than 31,000 meals, along with more than 300 hours of volunteer service during Summer Harvest Week 2012.

“Summer Harvest Week is one of many examples of the dedication Regence and its employees have demonstrated in the fight against hunger,” said Laura Golino de Lovato, OFB director of development, marketing and communications.

For more information about Oregon Food Bank and its mission, to donate or volunteer, visit www.oregonfoodbank.org.

At 10055 E. Burnside St., Impact NW provides educational and social services to more than 60,000 low-income residents of Multnomah County. For more information, call 503-988-6000, or to learn more about their mission in east Portland, visit impactnw.org.
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