CORVALLIS, Ore. – Volunteers started to assemble holiday food boxes on Tuesday at the Benton County Fairgrounds for those who need it.
Judy Gibson, the coordinator for the 33rd annual drive, says the group puts together around 1,400 food boxes before Thanksgiving.
“About 3,500 people a month are eating out of food boxes in Benton County alone,” she said.
Last year, 38 percent of students at Corvallis schools were eligible for free or reduced lunches.
“The need is still really high,” she said. “And you know, most of the families in need have at least one person working in the family. But if that’s a minimum wage job, it’s just impossible.”
Gibson says she has seen an increasing need over the years, especially since the 2007 recession hit.
“And there’s the recent cuts in the federal food stamp program that I think is going to have a devastating effect on people who are already struggling,” she said.
Those who are eligible for food boxes will be able to pick them up on Mon., Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. The group will also be making trips to Monroe, Alsea, and Summit to deliver boxes.
The food drive is still looking for food or cash donations. Alone, the Guerber Hall rental at the fairground cost the food drive organization $1,700. Gibson says it is a hefty price tag, but the facility has been efficient.
Wednesday is the last day to apply for a food box. Anyone who lives in Benton County and is eligible for food stamps can apply at Community Services Consortium downtown or at the Vina Moses Center. Food or cash donations can be dropped off or mailed to Coldwell Banker at: 1109 NW 9th St, Corvallis, OR 97330.