The annual Governor’s State Employees Food Drive began Feb. 1, and volunteer coordinators from every corner of campus have embraced a return to some of the in-person events that marked the food drive prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wanted to nurture a sense of community after coming out of the pandemic,” said Kim Horn, executive assistant in Office of the Dean in the Lundquist College of Business Office. “I feel it is important to work on bringing people together after having been secluded for such a long time and to raise greater awareness for the UO Food Drive.”
Several departmental coordinators found inspiration in the food drive itself to create their fundraisers, recognizing that food, and particularly desserts, can bring people together.
“One thing that really speaks to me is how food drive events reveal a new facet to the folks we work with every day,” said Tanna Shae Konnemann, temporary assistant in University Advancement. “We put ourselves into food we prepare for those we care about, and I can’t wait to see that new side to everyone who participates.”
Some dormant events returned, like Lundquist College of Business’ Valentine’s Day Bake Sale, which raised almost $800 in a single day. The Ford Alumni Center’s “Great Fordish Bake Off” also returns, putting a friendly interdepartmental competitive spin on the bake sale concept, with staff from University Advancement, UO Foundation, and University Communications competing in a blind taste test open to departmental employees.
Another team, the Johnson Hall and communications group, leaned into the local business community and developed a partnership with Prince Puckler’s Ice Cream for a generous special promotion, where 10 percent of sales on Feb. 16 were donated to FOOD for Lane County on behalf of the UO Governor’s Food Drive.
“We don't quite know the results yet, but regardless, it was such a great event and we're so happy to have had the opportunity to collaborate with a local business,” said Noemi Sepe, executive assistant in the Office of the Provost. “The best part was definitely seeing folks buy ice cream for their student workers and co-workers who couldn't step away from the office.”
The efforts by UO employees benefiting the food drive not only raise money to support community members in need but also raise awareness of the pervasive problem of food insecurity and bring the university community together.
“The opportunity to collaborate with colleagues after a long jaunt of Zoom meetings and having the opportunity to reset in-person in this way is refreshing and exciting,” said Sandra Anderson, director of operations at the UO Foundation. “As we have many new faces throughout our collective teams, this is a great way to draw the fuller team together for a great cause.”
The food drive runs Feb. 1 to 28. For more information see your department’s food drive site coordinator, or join the O365_Governor’s Food Drive team in Microsoft Teams. If you aren’t sure who the coordinator is, email email@example.com to get connected.