Employee donations during food drive help fight student hunger

Stocking shelves at the Student Food Pantry

The annual Governor’s State Employees Food Drive gets underway this week, and University of Oregon employees can make an impact on the local community with monetary and canned food donations throughout the month of February.  

A special food collection event to benefit the student food pantry will be held at the Erb Memorial Union on Wednesday, Feb. 16.  

University volunteers will accept nonperishable food donations in-person on the EMU Fishbowl Terrace on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for delivery to the Student Food Pantry. Culturally diverse and “building block” food items are often in demand, like spices, cooking oils, hearty soups and shelf-stable proteins, including vegetarian options like nut butters and dried legumes. 

While monetary donations are a more impactful method of giving, FOOD for Lane County relies on donations of shelf-stable food to offer diversity in the food options supplied to partner agencies like the Student Food Pantry. For last year’s food drive, with most UO employees working remotely, options to collect food were limited, so the UO Food Drive Steering Committee held drive-thru events to stock the shelves of the Student Food Pantry. More than 1,300 pounds of food were collected, the equivalent of 975 meals.

This year, food collection barrels are back on campus to gather diverse food items for the FOOD for Lane County network, and the UO Food Drive Steering Committee is again partnering with the UO Food Security Task Force to support the Student Food Pantry.

“UO employees really want to support the Student Food Pantry during the food drive, and this is a great way to do that,” said Cami Thompson, assistant director of neighbor relations and co-chair of the food drive. “This one-day event will add some welcome diversity to the student pantry shelves, which are already stocked by FOOD for Lane County and therefore indirectly supported by the governor’s food drive.”

Masks are required. Only nonperishable, in-date food items will be accepted. Donations that the student pantry can’t store immediately will go to FOOD for Lane County’s central warehouse for distribution to the Lane County community. For more information and a more complete list of desired foods, email fooddrive@uoregon.edu.