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Amidst Pandemic, Food Relief Group Pushes On

Annie Spratt

The head of a Eugene relief group says COVID-19 has canceled some fundraising events and disrupted others.  But their efforts are not wavering.

Tom Mulhern is executive director of Food For Lane County.  He said “food raiser” events tied to local football games, and the mail carriers’ drive had to be axed this year. But they’ve been able to resume food pick-up at grocery stories and some cafeterias.

Mulhern added it’s been a real mixed bag in terms of how locals have been affected by the pandemic.

“Demand from the community has been up and down," said Mulhern.  "It spiked initially with COVID, then went down as people were able to obtain additional resources in the form of extra rent assistance, and extra financial support from the government, unemployment benefits.” 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
An EPA worker searches the ruins of a Blue River home for hazardous waste in October, 2020.

Mulhern said pre-packing food and maintaining pandemic protocols have helped keep things safe.

On top of their current needs are food donations and money for a series of relief centers set up in the McKenzie River Corridor, where the Holiday Farm Fire leveled several communities in September.

Citing recent Census data, the Oregon Center for Public Policy said half of Oregon households with children worried about being able to purchase food in the coming month.  And about one in 11 Oregonians surveyed said their household wasn’t getting enough to eat.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.