First published in Around the O on January 29th. The annual Governor’s State Employees Food Drive gets underway this week, and UO employees can make a very local impact by bringing nonperishable items to the Student Food Pantry every Wednesday in February.
According to the Oregon Food Bank Network, hunger has doubled across Oregon in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is reflected in the UO student population as well; food insecurity on campus has increased since last March, when the coronavirus emerged.
During the pandemic FOOD for Lane County, which stocks the shelves for the Student Food Pantry, has been unable to hold their largest canned food drives. Donations from food drives usually provide variety in food options that the agency relies on to offer well-rounded, nourishing meals to pantry users.
To address that need, the UO Food Drive Steering Committee has partnered with the UO Food Security Task Force, as well as Oregon Cheerleading, to host a series of canned food drives every Wednesday throughout the month of February.
University volunteers and members of Oregon Cheerleading will accept nonperishable food donations in-person at the Student Food Pantry each Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Donations that the student pantry can’t store immediately will go to FOOD for Lane County’s central warehouse for distribution to the Lane County community.
To highlight some of the most-wanted foods, each day has been themed to encourage donation of these foods:
- Feb. 3: Shelf-stable proteins like nut butters, legumes and canned tuna or chicken.
- Feb. 10: Culturally appropriate foods, including dried lentils or beans, curry paste and spices.
- Feb. 17: Meal building blocks, such as hearty soups, plant-based milks, cereals and cooking oils.
- Feb. 24: Canned fruits and vegetables, including low-sugar dried fruit.