Reasons for Needing Food Assistance

Reasons for needing food assistance vary. Here are the most common:

  • Some people are working at low paying jobs, going from welfare to work, are involved in job training, or going to school to better themselves and become self-reliant.
  • Seniors living on very low fixed incomes. When they can get $100 worth of groceries each month, they have more money to purchase their medications and pay those higher winter utility bills.
  • Mentally or physically challenged people living on fixed incomes of less than $1,000 per month.
  • Individuals who have suffered a temporary crisis such as illness or injury. Some are unemployed, temporarily unemployed or facing a financial crisis.
  • Terminally ill people and cancer treatment patients access the Food Bank. With our help, those suffering from a life-altering illness can concentrate on their quality of life, themselves and their loved ones—not about choosing between paying for their medical prescriptions, living expenses and food.


How Does Food Assistance Work?

We have many people in our community that run into a short term financial crisis and may need food assistance once, normally to bridge the food gap until payday rolls around. Anybody can get one box and just sign for it and we may never see them again. We don’t want to make people jump through hoops for one box. It’s already humbling enough to ask.

If a household is going to need ongoing help, due to a fixed income, low-income wages, terminal or chronic illness, loss of a job, etc., they come into our office after getting their initial food box. We have a client intake person available Monday through Friday from 11:00 to 3:30. Our client intake person sits down with each household and discusses their current situation and what’s going on.

Of the 9,500 households we served in 2020-21, about 85% had a monthly income less than half of what the income eligibility guidelines allow.  The other 15% were financially settled, but something happened in their lives that knocked them down, hard and quick:

  • Lay-offs
  • Reduced work hours
  • Illness
  • Injury

Households who need ongoing help are issued a food box card that allows them to receive a certain amount of boxes. They can take that card to any pantry throughout Klamath and Lake Counties. Each time they receive a box, the pantry volunteer punches their card and makes a notation in the computer, as the computer database allows us to track visits in real time. Each household signs for their food box. With limited resources, this system allows us to have a decent amount of control over the program.  It also helps to keep the quality of a food box intact.