Bake sales, competitions, chocolate sales and online auctions: all are commonplace on campus in the month of February as University of Oregon employees participate in an annual food drive.
The Governor’s State Employees Food Drive was founded in 1982, when then-governor Vic Atiyeh saw that state employees have a role to play in supporting those in the community who need help. Since then, over 60 million meals have been provided by Oregon state employees.
Over 70 university departments participated in this year’s drive, each represented by a volunteer coordinator. Combined across campus, UO brought in the equivalent of 122,000 pounds of food, or 91,000 meals. The vast majority of donations go to FOOD for Lane County.
This year’s drive featured a new initiative: Feed the Flock Day raised funds for the campus food pantry, directly benefiting UO students in addition to community members.
Through a generous partnership with FOOD for Lane County, UO employees were able to donate online directly to the campus food pantry on February 21. The goal, to raise $3,700, would allow the pantry to purchase a new double-wide refrigerator and new shelving as it looks to expand services to students.
Coordinators watched the leaderboard anxiously all day, refreshing web browsers to track donations. At the end of the day, Feed the Flock was a tremendous success, raising funds totaling almost $4,900.
“I’m going to need a bigger pantry just to fit this check,” joked Doug Hale, who runs the student pantry just south of campus. FOOD for Lane County presented the check at a wrap-up event in March.
UO will participate in the next Governor’s State Employees Food Drive in February 2020.