Time is running out to donate to the state employees food drive

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

But it’s not too late to participate.

Many ways are still available to make the most of the final days of the drive. Payroll deduction is an easy way to give a one-time or recurring donation and get the UO to the top of the statewide competition with other public universities.

Donating online supports local food bank FOOD for Lane County and adds to departmental totals in the internal competition to see which team can donate the most.

The food drive comes at a critical time for food banks across the country, as pandemic emergency expansions of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps,  expire across the country at the end of February.

“Our agencies are already reporting higher numbers of people than usual,” said Rozlyn Fox, community giving coordinator at FOOD for Lane County. “We’re seeing people who have never had to ask for help before, a very hard position to be in. Additionally, pantry managers are seeing people arriving for food assistance who they haven’t seen for years, people who previously needed help and who now need help again because of current economic conditions. As SNAP benefits end, we anticipate more people turning to food bank programs to help fill the gap.”

Employees also are encouraged to continue raising awareness about student food insecurity and resources throughout the year. The guide to aid faculty and staff members in the endeavor has tips about how to approach a conversation about food insecurity with a student, as well as ideas for ways to help even if you do not interact with students regularly.

Contributions made by midnight Feb. 28 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.