State employee food drive exceeds goal for contributions

The Food Drive Steering Committee meeting Caesar the No Drama Llama to celebrate the success of the 2022 food drive.

In the first food drive with an on-campus presence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university’s hybrid workforce came together to support one of the most successful food drives in UO history.

UO employees donated more than $65,000 and 2,100 pounds of nonperishable food, the combined equivalent of 196,840 meals. Most donations go to the regional food bank partner for the main Eugene campus, FOOD for Lane County.

“The Governor’s State Employees Food Drive has an incredible impact on the many pantries and programs we serve,” said Sarah Reiter, corporate and community relations coordinator for FOOD for Lane County. “And the funds raised through the campus drive went twice as far, thanks to a generous donor who offered to match all gifts to FFLC in the month of February.”

More than 45 university departments participated in this year’s drive, each represented by at least one volunteer coordinator. Coordinators set up fundraising opportunities for their colleagues, and did outreach to educate faculty and staff about the stark need for food and funds in Lane County and across the state.

“Hunger in Lane County doubled at the onset of the pandemic, and unfortunately this increased need is still very prevalent,” Reiter said. “Displaced residents from the 2020 wildfires are also still in need of support as they rebuild their communities.”

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 Oregon state employees.

UO will participate in the next Governor’s State Employees Food Drive in February 2023.

By Cami Thompson, Government and Community Relations