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News & Events

10.20.2003

Oregon Lawyers Exceed Goal In Fight Against Hunger

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Lawyers Against Hunger (OLAH) exceeded all expectations by raising more than $115,000 in this year’s seventh annual fundraiser to benefit Oregon Food Bank (OFB). Last year’s donations from lawyers, legal professionals and law firms totaled more than $104,000.

OLAH is a non-profit organization comprised of legal professionals in Oregon. Every dollar donation enables OFB to collect and distribute almost $10 worth of food for hungry people in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

With the economic downturn and high unemployment rate, OLAH knew this year’s fund-raising drive was of utmost importance to people in need of assistance. The holidays are fast approaching, and OLAH has been Oregon Food Bank’s top holiday food and fund-drive producer.

“Oregon Lawyers Against Hunger is an exceptional example of the power of individuals galvanized to meet a community need. This growing entity of volunteers and individual donors plays a big role in helping Oregon Food Bank keep its trucks on the road, bringing millions of pounds of food to a growing number of people in need here in the metro area and throughout the state,” said Rachel Bristol, Oregon Food Bank’s executive director.

This year, more than 50 law firms and hundreds of individual attorneys in the tri-county area and throughout the state participated. For seven consecutive years, Lane Powell has won the Silver Barrel Award, which is awarded to the team with the largest overall contribution. This year, Lane Powell Spears Lubersky and Bullivant Houser Bailey each raised more than $21,000, which allowed both firms to share the Silver Barrel Award. Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe received the Golden Can Award, which is awarded to the firm with the largest average per capita contribution, by raising $272.80 per person.

“OLAH’s tremendous success is really a double-edged sword,” said OLAH Board President Megge Van Valkenburg. “The record-breaking results of this year’s drive are testimony to the generosity of our legal community and to its commitment to helping those in need. At the same time, our need to achieve such results demonstrates that the problem of hunger in Oregon continues to get worse.”

OLAH’s efforts have been phenomenal. Since its inception in 1997, OLAH’s fund-raising efforts have raised $500,353, which has resulted in 5,503,883 pounds of food for OFB.

“We started off in 1997 by involving primarily large law firms in the downtown Portland area,” said Van Valkenburg. “But each year we have tried to expand participation to include small firms, solo practitioners and legal professionals in the tri-county area and then throughout the state. This year we tried to involve more corporate legal departments too. As long as the need exists, we will do our best each year to expand participation to help Oregon Food Bank continue its fight against hunger.”

The fight against hunger is critical. In our prosperous state, hunger remains a serious problem.

  • An estimated 780,000 people received emergency food last year through the OFB network, 40 percent were children under the age of 18.
  • The number of food boxes distributed has grown more than 10 percent in the last year.
  • Most food box recipients are working, retired or disabled.
  • Two parent households make up the largest group of food box recipients.

Oregon Food Bank is a community based, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating hunger and its root causes throughout Oregon and Washington’s Clark County. Food from a variety of sources moves through its two distribution centers to 300 local hunger relief agencies in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and Clark Counties, and through a network of 18 independent regional food banks to an additional 500 agencies throughout Oregon. Last year, these agencies provided emergency food boxes to an estimated 780,000 people at least once each, and served 4.4 million emergency meals. Another 120,000 people received food through non-emergency programs such as senior centers and low-income day care. For more information, contact Oregon Food Bank at (503) 282-0555 or visit www.oregonfoodbank.org.

Legal professionals wishing to participate in the fund-raising drive or who would like to learn more about OLAH, please contact OLAH Board President Megge Van Valkenburg at (503) 499-4471.