Even before the pandemic began, hunger was a real problem in Oregon. One in 11 of its residents were food insecure. Accelerated by the public health concerns and economic uncertainty, today that number has risen to 1 in 6.
It’s a problem that the team at KGW in Portland doesn’t take lightly. Knowing that almost 50 percent of Oregon’s children face food insecurity, the station has run the KGW Great Food Drive for the past 18 years to help the cause.
“Because of the pandemic and recent wildfires, the KGW Great Food Drive is essential this year,” said Steve Carter, President and General Manager of KGW. “Providing nourishing food now will help fuel a better and stronger future for everyone and we appreciate the ongoing commitment from our corporate partners who make this a top initiative in their community work.”
This year in support of the Oregon Food Bank, sponsors like Pacific Foods, Rivermark Community Credit Union, and local Toyota Dealers are matching donations in an effort to collect 1.5 million pounds of food to be distributed to its network of 21 regional food banks and 1,400 food assistance sites across Oregon and Clark County, Washington.
“We’ve made it our mission over the last 20 years to improve accessibility to nourishing organic foods,” said Kelly McCann, senior brand manager Pacific Foods. “Our partnership with the KGW Great Food Drive is just one more way we’re supporting those in need, beginning in our backyard.”
Another way KGW is making a difference is with its impactful storytelling surrounding the issue.
“At KGW, one of our core values is the community, and I think it’s imperative we get involved and do something that makes a difference – and we can do that with our airwaves,” said Skyler Stever, Creative Director at KGW.
KGW has the power to reach a wide audience with news segments, promos, and digital elements, but the real inspiration and calls to action stem from the stories it tells. One of the inspirational stories that Stever has told through the KGW Food Drive lens is Mariah Taylor’s, an 81-year old woman who delivers up to 800 pounds of food to homeless camps each week – despite the pandemic.
“These stories are so meaningful, and I’m not sure we often take enough time to reflect and appreciate the impact we have in our community,” said Ashley Korslien, KGW reporter.
“It just goes to show that as we unwrap some of these stories, it can be the saddest thing,” said Stever. “But at the same time, there’s an opportunity to do great things. If you partner with the right people, you can get it done and that’s a beautiful thing.”