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Advocates raise red flag over campaign food pantry claims

Anti-hunger advocates are crying foul over a new ad in support of Measure 103, which would ban state taxes on groceries.

Anti-hunger advocates are crying foul over a new ad in support of Measure 103, which would ban state taxes on groceries.

The ad, featuring Sunshine Division's executive director, Kyle Camberg, claims that "103 ensures food banks and food pantries will remain tax-free."

"Let's be clear: Measure 103 does nothing to change how food banks operate in Oregon," Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and the Oregon Coalition of Christian Voices wrote in a joint press release Wednesday. "Food banks give food to those in need for free, and they are tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofits."

A spokesman for the "Yes! Keep Our Groceries Tax Free!" campaign, which supports Measure 103, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Advocates have raised concerns about prior statements by the campaign on food pantries and banks, says Matt Newell-Ching, public affairs director for Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon.

They say that the statements could cause confusion for people in need.

"It is crucial that people asking for food assistance understand that food from food banks is and always will be free," advocates wrote. "The implication by Measure 103 proponents that food assistance could be taxed will create unnecessary confusion for Oregonians facing hard times, and may even deter people from seeking assistance."