ACCESS has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation to fund a variety of services to feed the hungry in Jackson County.

ACCESS has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation to fund a variety of services to feed the hungry in Jackson County.

The grant will help ACCESS Food Share and its network of 23 food pantries in its continuing effort to provide food for a growing number of hungry, which includes 3,200 families each month.

"This generous grant will help us provide more food in the community as well as building the capacity to distribute it," said Philip Yates, ACCESS Nutrition Program Director.

The grant will provide funding for the Mobile Outreach Food Pantry, Food Share Gardens and the purchase of food, he said.

According to the latest USDA hunger report, Oregon is among the top five hungriest states in the nation, and 13.9 percent of households (over 500,000 Oregonians) suffered food insecurity in 2009. Over 225,000 individuals suffer very low food security. Locally, the number of people ACCESS provides food for continues to rise as our economy forces more people to seek assistance, officials said.

The grant is made possible by the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians. In 1997 the Tribe formalized their tradition of philanthropy by establishing a grant-making foundation, first known as the Cow Creek Seven Feathers Foundation.

Each year the foundation makes grants to eligible non-profit organizations in Douglas, Coos, Lane, Deschutes, Klamath, Jackson and Josephine counties. Since its beginning, the Cow Creek Foundation has awarded more than $10 million dollars in grants.

— Sanne Specht