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Food assistance program for immigrants advances

A group of people facing the camera and holding a banner that reads "Food For All Oregonians."
Food for All Oregonians
Advocates gather in Salem during the lobby day in support of SB 610.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a proposal to create a state-funded food assistance program aimed at immigrants.

Senate Bill 610 would create a program mirroring SNAP benefits, which an estimated 62,000 Oregonians are currently excluded from. The bill also includes residents included in the Compact of Free Association Treaty, who can live, work and travel to the U.S. without a visa but are excluded from federal benefits. It additionally covers Legal Permanent Residents, those applying for refugee and asylum, and many other immigrant groups.

Fatima Jawaid Marty is the campaign manager for Food for All Oregonians, which is a coalition of groups headed by the Oregon Food Bank and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. She said an advocacy day for the bill at the state capitol drew more than a hundred advocates from all across the state.

“It was a beautiful day," Jawaid Marty said. "This campaign very much was community led, and it was amazing to have everyone in that room, being able to share what not having food access has meant for them.”

The Oregon Senate’s Human Services Committee approved the measure April 3 on a 4-1 vote. It now heads to the legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee, where it is joining more than a hundred other spending proposals competing for the attention of legislative budget writers.

Jasmine Lewin was a freelance reporter in 2022 and 2023. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Lewin wrote for the University of Oregon quarterly magazine Ethos before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
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