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Oregonians Are Choosing Between Groceries and Rent. Finding Them Food Is Getting Harder.

Federal aid doesn’t cover many of the people who need help.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

Last year, 1 in every 5 Oregonians was going hungry. Actually, the number was larger than that: Those 860,000 people were just the citizens who were hungry and asked for help. Others just didn't eat.

Then the pandemic hit—and the number doubled.

The challenge for the Oregon Food Bank during COVID-19 is immense. Job losses have left people trying to choose between paying rent and buying groceries. The nation's food-supply chains were disrupted by disease—think outbreaks at meat-packing plants. And federal aid doesn't cover many of the people who need help.

Susannah Morgan, the Oregon Food Bank's CEO, is trying to navigate her nonprofit through what amounts to a statewide food desert. In this interview with WW editor and publisher Mark Zusman, she outlines what the novel coronavirus meant for hunger. Among the things she reveals: what parts of the month see the greatest demand for assistance.

(For those who need food assistance, got to OregonFoodFinder.org)