To the Food for All Oregonians community,
We are writing today with somber news.
On June 7, the Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee held their final meeting without bringing SB 610, Food for All Oregonians, forward for a vote. We are devastated and deeply disappointed to see that Food for All Oregonians will not be advancing this legislative session.
This legislation could have extended vital food assistance to all Oregonians, regardless of where we are born. Because of the decision to not move SB 610 forward, over 62,000 individuals and their families will continue to experience disproportionately higher levels of food insecurity; all in the aftermath of a worldwide pandemic and during historical rises to the cost of living. For generations, these communities have been excluded from critical support systems that have taken away their opportunity to thrive and live healthy lives.
We are deeply disappointed that Democratic leadership decided SB 610 is not a priority – that access to food is not a priority.
Oregonians from across the state showed up time and time again to highlight the urgent need for Food for All Oregonians – more than 125 community organizations and thousands of individual supporters banded together to demand this legislation pass. Just in the last month, more than 1,600 Oregonians called their legislators to urge them to support and pass SB 610. But, despite our community’s best efforts to illustrate the deeply felt impact of this exclusion, we weren't able to convince leadership to place this bill at the top of their priorities this legislative session.
There is no excuse for this decision. Oregon’s recent revenue forecast showed an additional $2 billion available next biennium as well as an unprecedented $5.5 billion kicker. We know that Oregon has the resources available to make Food for All Oregonians a reality. Even though no one should have to do anything to be deserving of food or other basic needs, we know that individuals excluded from food assistance pay millions of dollars in taxes each year into a system that they don't fully benefit from.
While we are disappointed, we are not deterred. The strength and love of our community will carry this fight forward until we truly have food for ALL Oregonians. Six other states have already passed similar legislation, and Oregon must be next. Together, we will create a future where immigration status no longer drives poverty and hunger in our communities.
We would like to express our gratitude to SB 610’s chief sponsor Senator Campos, who helped craft this bill and championed it through its many stages. We are grateful to the BIPOC caucus for their support, to our 17 legislative sponsors, and to the four members of the Senate Human Services Committee who voted to pass SB 610 with bipartisan support. Our communities are counting on you to continue supporting this issue and we look forward to our collective fight in future.
The Food for All Oregonians campaign also wants to celebrate and honor the leadership and commitment of all the community leaders who shared their stories and spoke truth to power so that this bill could advance. We couldn’t have made it this far without you all; especially those directly connected and impacted by this issue. Thank you for your time, your wisdom, your courage and for showing up to tell decision-makers why this bill is necessary for our communities. We are deeply and humbly grateful to be in community with you all, and we look forward to continuing this work together.
We will keep fighting, and we will keep pressing onward.
Aldo Solano and Fatima Jawaid Marty, Campaign Co-Managers
And the Food for All Oregonians Coalition
We know that so many of you will be personally impacted by this news, in various ways.
Please know that food resources are still available via food markets, pantries and meal sites. These are open to all, regardless of race, gender, religion or immigration status. Use the FoodFinder resources at OregonFoodFinder.org to find resources in your area. Also, remember that this news does not remove any current SNAP benefits.
We also invite you to join us in emailing Democratic leadership to hold them accountable and express your disappointment. Follow this link to email your state representative and state senator, as well as Ways and Means Co-Chairs Senator Elizabeth Steiner and Representative Tawna Sanchez; Speaker of the House Dan Rayfield; and Senate President Senator Rob Wagner. These four legislators are in critical positions of leadership that could have influenced prioritizing funding for SB 610 this legislative session.
In the coming weeks, the Food for All Oregonians Steering Committee and campaign staff will be taking some time to take a breath, reflect and assess how to best move forward. Our team is committed to continuing to fight to make Food for All Oregonians a reality, so be on the lookout for more information soon.
We are so incredibly proud of the work we have done together and are grateful for everyone’s leadership and dedication to the Food for All Oregonians Campaign. We have advanced the values of this campaign with integrity, collaboration and love.
We look forward to continuing the fight alongside you!