Frequently Asked Questions

Your questions answered about the food bank, who we serve, and how you can help!

How does food assistance work, what are the income requirements?

You are eligible if your family is currently participating in the Food Stamp Program, Low Income Energy Assistance (LIEP), ADC, TANF, or State General Assistance Program which automatically allows me to receive emergency food assistance –OR– your TOTAL household income is at or below the amounts listed:

Household Size Monthly Income $ Annual Income $
1 $3,398 $40,770
2 $4,578 $54,930
3 $5,758 $69,090
4 $6,938 $83,250
5 $8,118 $97,410
6 $9,298 $111,570
7 $10,478 $125,730
8* $11,658 $139,890

* For each additional member, add $1,180 per month. Commodity foods are for home consumption only and are not to be sold, traded, bartered, or exchanged for services.

Why do people need food assistance?

Reasons for needing food assistance vary. In 2019, 1 in 10 people in Columbia County ate a meal prepared from an emergency food box. All who qualify for emergency assistance are within 185% of the federal poverty level and Columbia County’s unemployment rate continues to be well above the state rate.

Here are the most common instances for why our clients seek our help:

  • Under Employed or In Job Transition/Training: Some people are working at low paying jobs (some part-time and at or slightly above minimum wage), going from welfare to work, are involved in job training, or going to school to better themselves and become self-reliant.
  • Fixed Income Seniors: Seniors live on a fixed incomes of $400-600 per month. When they can get $100 worth of groceries each month from our program, they have more money to purchase their medications and pay those higher winter utility bills.
  • Disability: Mentally or physically disabled people live on fixed incomes of $350-600 per month.
  • Crisis Situation: Individuals who have suffered a temporary crisis such as illness or injury. Some are unemployed, temporarily unemployed, or facing a financial crisis.
  • Illness: 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.
  • Struggling Families: Hungry children are more susceptible to illnesses and behavior problems.

How many people are serviced?

2019 statistics for Columbia Pacific Food Bank

Emergency Food Pantry Emergency Food Boxes Served (EFBs) People Served (duplicated#)
HELP (St. Helens) 5,946 15,366
St. Vincent (Scappoose) 1,025


HOPE (Rainier) 1,777


Turning Point (Clatskanie) 1, 210


Natal Grange (Mist/Birkenfeld) 400


TOTALS 11,714


How can I help?

Donate and volunteer.

Monetary Donations: With our buying power we can purchase 5x the amount of food than you can buy at the grocery store. This means a donation of $20 can purchase around $100 worth of food.

Food Donations: With your help we can provide our neighbors with more nutritious food.

Volunteer:Volunteering with the food bank takes dedication and physical ability, but is also rewarding. The satisfaction of helping feed hungry residents in Columbia County is worth it, especially knowing that a large portion of our recipients are families who are vulnerable to limited incomes or situations beyond their control.

Food donation guidelines

With your help we can provide our neighbors with more nutritious food. These top 5 items are in high-demand, and allow our clients to prepare easy and nutritious meals.

  • Canned meats – tuna, chicken, salmon, beef, corned beef
  • Canned soup and chili
  • Peanut butter and almond butter
  • Canned fruits
  • Canned vegtables

We also accept any packaged, self-stable food item as well as local produce both purchased and from your garden.

Please note: Many of our clients do not access to a fully-stocked kitchen. Ready-pull tab cans, easy-opening pouches, etc are encouraged.

Where can I learn more about the impact of hunger in the U.S.?

Feeding America is a great resource,

What is the difference between a food pantry and a food bank?

A food pantry is a distribution site in the community where hungry individuals and families receive food. The food they provide is supplied by the food bank, a warehouse that purchases, stores, and distributes large quantities of food to each food pantry. In Columbia County, each food pantry and food program is a member agency with the regional food bank, Columbia Pacific Food Bank.

Where do I go to receive assistance?

Visit our Food Pantry page to find details for the pantry in your city.

Get involved or make a donation today!

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