by: Vern Uyetake,

Inside today's newspaper is a paper bag that can make a signficant difference to families in need this holiday season.

How? Fill the bag with groceries this holiday season to help fight hunger in the metro area.

'In an average month, 72,000 children in Oregon and Clark County, Wash., eat meals from an emergency food box,' says Rachel Bristol, Oregon Food Bank's executive director. 'Children who are hungry have more trouble learning in school and may face irreversible health problems later in life, such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.'

Most adult emergency food box recipients are working, retired or disabled. In fact, 47 percent of households receiving emergency food last year had at least one working member. That's an increase from 43 percent in 2004 and 37 percent in 1996.

How can you help?

Look for the brown paper bag in the newspaper today (or use any paper or plastic bag).

Fill the bag with nonperishable food such as peanut butter, canned meats, canned vegetables, canned fruits, soup, chili and stews (no glass containers) and drop it off at any local Jiffy Lube, U.S. Bank, Albertsons or the Review office at 400 Second St.

The Review is teaming up with the other members of Community Newspapers on the drive.

'This is the third year that we've been involved in the Fill the Bag food drive', said Kevin Hohnbaum, circulation director for Community Newspapers. 'Hunger is a critical issue for many families and we want to give our readers the opportunity to make a difference in our communities.'

Drop the bag off any time before Dec. 24.

Your donation stays in the local area community to help fight hunger.

The bag also includes a coupon you can clip to make a cash donation. For each $1 donation, Oregon Food Bank can collect and distribute six pounds of food through its food distribution program. Visit the food bank's Web site at or call 503-282-0555.

As a thank you for dropping off at least five cans of food, Jiffy Lube will give contributors coupons worth $31 off a year's worth of signature oil changes. In addition, Jiffy Lube will match every donation - meal for meal.

'The Fill the Bag food drive is particularly important this year due to a drop in the amount of food we receive from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,' Bristol said. 'Last year we saw a dramatic 26 percent decline in USDA product. We continue to look for additional sources of food to make up the loss. Food drives like Fill the Bag bring in much needed nutritious, shelf-stable food.'

Food drive organizers hope to collect 125,000 pounds of food.

Fill the Bag Food Drive sponsors are Jiffy Lube, U.S. Bank, Albertsons, Community Newspapers, The Commerce Company, Weyerhaeuser, Nike and

Oregon Food Bank is a nonprofit, charitable organization. It is the hub of the Oregon Food Bank Network, a statewide network of 20 regional food banks and 884 agencies and programs serving Oregon and Clark County, Wash.

Oregon Food Bank recovers food from farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources. It then delivers that food to 20 regional food banks covering OFB's service area. Regional food banks distribute this food and additional resources from local donations to nonprofit programs serving low-income people in their communities.

Sixteen of the 20 regional food banks are independent charitable organizations. OFB directly operates the four regional food banks serving the Portland metro area, southeast Oregon and Tillamook County. Those four centers distribute food to 340 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs helping low-income individuals in Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah, Washington, Harney, Malheur and Tillamook counties.

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