In a time of increasing community need, the university’s hybrid workforce came together to support the annual state employees food drive, exceeding the 2023 goal set by the steering committee on the last day of the February drive.
UO employees donated $53,799 and another 1,289 pounds of nonperishable food, the combined equivalent of 162,364 meals. Most donations go to the regional food bank partner for the main Eugene campus, FOOD for Lane County, though employees could also donate to other Oregon Food Bank Network partners throughout the state through payroll deductions.
"Our special thanks to all UO employees for your wonderful generosity," said Tom Mulhern, executive director of FOOD For Lane County. "Your support is particularly helpful this year, as the high cost of food and other necessities is causing more and more people to seek food assistance."
At least 37 university departments participated in this year’s drive, represented by 50 coordinators spread across campus. Coordinators set up fundraising opportunities for their colleagues and did outreach to educate faculty and staff members about the stark need for food and funds in Lane County and across the state.
“We’re all feeling the impacts of higher grocery bills, which the steering committee tried to take into account when setting a goal of 130,000 meals for the drive, a modest increase from last year’s goal,” said Cami Thompson, assistant director for neighbor relations and chair for the food drive. “It’s been so heartening to see UO employees still step up to help our neighbors who are experiencing this food insecurity even more acutely.”
The Governor’s State Employees Food Drive was founded in 1982, when then-Gov. Vic Atiyeh saw that state employees have a role to play in supporting those in the community who need help. Since then, more than 70 million meals have been provided by state employees in Oregon.
The UO will participate in the next Governor’s State Employees Food Drive in February 2024. Anyone interested in serving as a departmental coordinator for their team or on the steering committee, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.