Check your cupboards and clear out your pantry. Those long-forgotten cans of tuna and packages of rice now have a purpose – the Governor's State Employees Food Drive will begin Jan. 28 and continue through March 1.
The University of Oregon will again be on Team 6 – higher education – and will join all state employees in raising food, money and awareness of the plight of less fortunate Oregon residents. Fifty-six UO employees have committed to coordinate their department, college, school or building to raise funds and nonperishable foods through payroll deductions, book sales, auctions, bake sales and other creative ways, with all the proceeds benefiting FOOD For Lane County.
This year's food drive is expected to be challenging, because one dollar in cash donations will now equate to four pounds of food – all money is converted into pounds of food – while for the past five years a dollar was equal to five pounds of food. The UO raised 170,013 pounds of food or the cash equivalent last year. The university's record is 173,368 pounds, set two years ago.
Gov. Vic Atiyeh started the drive in 1982, calling on state agencies to help “reduce the suffering of those without adequate food resources” and to “show that true Oregonians believe that we can and do help our friends and neighbors in need.”
Coordinators in each UO department or school will encourage employees to bring food to leave in collection barrels or to donate money.
Preferred items include peanut butter, tuna, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, canned fruit or vegetables and canned meals (no glass, please). Checks can be made out to FOOD for Lane County and payroll deductions can be established.
The UO has shown a creative side in food drives past: The Knight Law School once produced a “Tower of Tuna,” while Human Resources built a “Bridge of Beans” and Admissions constructed a “Castle of Cereal.”