Local Mayors “Unite” Against Hunger

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Saturday’s Mayors United features 10 mayors, 10 restaurants and caterers, 2 auctions, wine, beer and more

Sept. 22 event raises money to feed hungry children and families

Jacksonville, OR — In three years, ACCESS’s unique “Mayors United” event to fight hunger has raised enough money to provide 400,000 meals to feed local hungry families and individuals. This year’s event, presented by Wells Fargo, brings together mayors throughout Jackson County to fight hunger on Saturday, September 22, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Jacksonville Bigham Knoll Event Center. The public is invited to join ACCESS and its sponsors for an early evening of tastings from local restaurants, wine and beer samplings, entertainment, live and silent auctions. Event proceeds will go to feed the hungry through the ACCESS Food Share Pantry Network of 24 food pantries.

Jacksonville Mayor Paul Becker (third from left) and his wife Sharon at last year's event

“No one should suffer from hunger, and it’s happening all around us. Mayors United is an easy and fun way we can all help our fellow neighbors who are going hungry. As mayors, we take pride in supporting ACCESS and the food banks within all of our communities. We encourage residents from throughout Jackson County to come out to Mayors United and enjoy great food, wine, beer, and more,” said Gary Wheeler, City of Medford Mayor.

“For people who have never attended Mayors United, it’s a great time that is open to anyone who wants to have fun, help feed the hungry, and maybe even rub shoulders with mayors from throughout Jackson County,” said Jackie Schad, ACCESS Executive Director.

Tickets are $40 per person, $75 per couple, or $300 per table ($350 after September 1), and seating is limited. To purchase tickets, call (541) 774-4312 or buy online at www.accesshelps.org.  For each dollar raised, ACCESS can provide five meals, or approximately five pounds of food, for local residents experiencing hunger.

Last year's event at the Bigham Knoll Event Center

A sampling of featured restaurants selected to represent Jackson County’s different cities include Jacksonville Inn, Silver Ridge Outfitters from Rogue River, Arbor House from Talent, Roscoe’s from Phoenix, Elements Tapas, Cupcake Creations, and Capers from Medford, Original Bobbio’s Pizza from Central Point, and Rogue River Lodge from Shady Cove. Valley View Winery and Southern Oregon Brewing will provide tastings and beverage sales. Coca Cola and Umpqua Dairy are also providing refreshments for guests.

Auction items include a Portland Pearl District getaway with Trailblazer tickets, group wine tours, golf tournament packages, dinners with local mayors, and unique vacation packages combining dining, lodging and Shakespeare tickets. For an updated list of auction items, visit www.accesshelps.org.

For live entertainment, attendees can enjoy singer Marcella Rose Ruikis with Dal Carver’s The Wild Goose Chase band. Their first gig together was at the annual Battle of the Bones festival in June.

Mayors United was created in 2009 to help feed the growing number of hungry residents in Jackson County. Last year, ACCESS fed 3,500 families, or 10,000 individuals, each month, and distributed over 44,000 food boxes and 2.9 million pounds of emergency food (55,000 pounds weekly). The number of people seeking food support has increased by over seven percent since 2010. Thirty-three percent of those ACCESS is helping to feed are children.

According to the Oregon Food Bank, growing levels of long-term unemployment have forced more people to seek food assistance. Hiring has stalled, keeping Oregon’s unemployment rate at 8.5% and 10.4% in Jackson County. In addition, 13% of Oregon’s children have at least one unemployed parent, ranking the state third-worst nationally. Hunger is especially hard on families, children, seniors, and those who are disabled. Hunger negatively impacts learning, health, productivity, and potential for both children and adults. Children who are hungry have more difficulty learning in school, and childhood hunger and malnutrition can lead to irreversible health problems later in life.

As the Community Action Agency of Jackson County, ACCESS has been helping Jackson County residents break the cycle of poverty since 1976. With a focus on education, ACCESS helps low-income families and seniors through economic crisis by guiding them through changes in habits to help them become self-sustaining. ACCESS currently serves Jackson County residents through 15 programs designed to address issues from one-time emergencies to longer-term issues. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.