Time is running out to donate to the annual food drive

The Governor's State Employees Food Drive concludes this week, capping a month of fundraising events and competitions geared toward helping neighbors in need.

But it's not too late to participate.

There are many ways to make the most of the final days of the drive. Payroll deduction is an easy way to give a one-time or 12-month recurring donation. Donating through the drive's online giving site supports local food bank FOOD for Lane County. Both options add to departmental totals in the friendly internal competition to see which team can raise the most, as well as in the statewide competition with other public universities.

The final day of the month, Feb. 29, is dedicated to raising funds for the food bank-supported pantry, the Student Food Pantry, to fund a tune-up for their van and the purchase of new shelves and carts. 

The food drive comes at a time of significant need in our community, coming one year after pandemic-era government food subsidies ended. Donations are a great way to create tangible change for those facing food insecurity.

"We're seeing a significant increase in the number of people seeking out food assistance," said Rozlyn Fox, community giving coordinator at FOOD for Lane County. "Most recently, the impact of the ice storm has created a surge in need. Many people had their food supply completely wiped out by losing power for an extended period of time."

FOOD for Lane County has long been a source of support for the food insecure in the local community. Contributing to FOOD for Lane County supports their food programs and resources that are heavily relied on, particularly as other resources are being reduced. 

"We have had to carry a waitlist for our Meals on Wheels and Senior Grocery programs ever since the pandemic SNAP reduction that happened last year," Fox said. "Fundraisers like the UO Governor's Drive help us sustain and increase our capacity to serve people in need."

Employees are also encouraged to continue raising awareness about student food insecurity and resources throughout the year. Earlier this month, staff shared their experiences with food insecurity and facing stigma surrounding the topic. It may be hard for students to reach out for help. 

"Oftentimes students find themselves in need of food assistance for the first time in their lives while they're at UO and the student pantry helps make that process as easy, friendly and as non-stigmatizing as possible," Fox said.

Contributions made by midnight on Feb. 29 count toward UO's overall totals. For more information, see your department's food drive site coordinator. If you aren’t sure who that is, email fooddrive@uoregon.edu to get connected.