Food drive inspires generosity and creative fundraising

The annual Governor's State Employees Food Drive began Feb. 1, and volunteer departmental coordinators from every corner of campus are encouraging donations in ways big and small, from email outreach to organizing unique fundraisers. 

"I love having the Dough for Ducks bake-off as a yearly engagement opportunity to not only allow colleagues the opportunity to give back to the food drive and our local community, but to do it together as an advancement community," said Taylor Fowler, manager of employee development, engagement and belonging in University Advancement. "The food drive is a great way to build camaraderie, collaboration, partnerships and stronger relationships with other departments in the Ford Alumni Center, too."

While many fundraising events of past food drives have centered around an in-person experience, the hybrid workforce of many departments inspired some new ideas to engage staff working from home or at one of the satellite campuses.

"With our new campus opening in Portland, we have to work extra hard to make inclusive community-building events that are accessible to all of UO advancement employees," said Tasha Blaircobb, development project coordinator. "This year our social committee is creating a cookbook that anyone in advancement, regardless of location, can participate in. In addition to fundraising, we will get the opportunity to learn more about our co-workers while getting a bunch of delicious new recipes to try out at home!"

Another team, the Johnson Hall and University Communications group, took inspiration from Valentine's Day to find an asynchronous fundraising activity that was also easy to participate in, selling "val-o-gram" messages paired with a sweet treat to be delivered on the holiday. 

"People love to support good causes and I knew this would be a fun way to incentivize donating to the food drive, while not requiring too much effort for folks to participate," said Abigail Erwin, executive assistant in communications. "We haven't sold val-o-grams before and didn't know what to expect in terms of numbers, but on day one I was nervous that we weren't going to be able to keep up with the demand! We've already started to brainstorm ways to make this bigger and better next year."

In-person fundraising events still found traction, and several departmental coordinators found inspiration in the food drive itself, recognizing that food can bring people together. One such event is the second annual Lundquist College of Business Bake Sale that took place on Feb. 14. 

"I wanted to continue to build our department's sense of community, so the event felt like a perfect way to raise funds and help our neighbors in Lane County facing food insecurity, and to bring joy to my coworkers at the same time," said Kim Horn, executive assistant in the College of Business. "I really enjoy baking and it has always been rewarding watching people enjoy the things I bake for them."

The Governor's State Employees Food Drive runs Feb. 1 to 29. For more information, see your department's food drive site coordinator. If you aren't sure who that is, email to get connected.