Oregon State food drive in motion
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 02:02
As of Jan. 28, the 31st year of the Oregon State University Food Drive is on. For the next month, about 90 groups on campus and from around the state will strive to raise food for their local food shares. The theme for this year’s food drive is ‘Race to End Hunger.’
“This is part of the governor’s state employee’s food drive, but OSU has been doing a food drive for quite some time and has a great success rate at it. Last year we raised 647,000 pounds of food,” said Shelly Signs, university events director.
Payroll contributions generate a monthly, reliable source of funding for the Linn-Benton Food Share, Signs said. Donations collected at OSU go to the Linn-Benton Food Share.
“From there, it’s distributed out to all the different partner agencies that they serve, including the OSU food pantry, which has been very active and done some amazing things over the past couple of years,” Signs said.
For the past 12 years, the College of Forestry has been the leader in the OSU competition, earning the prestigious title of ‘top banana,’ an award the Linn-Benton Food Share gives out. It is a tradition the College of Forestry hopes to maintain.
The College of Forestry hopes to raise $13,000 — equivalent by this year’s conversion to 52,000 pounds of food, said Terralyn Vandetta, co-coordinator of the college’s food drive group, alongside Julie Howard. Last year, the college raised $11,382, or about 56,915 pounds of food by last year’s conversion of five pounds per dollar, according to Vandetta.
Vandetta attributes the College of Forestry’s success to its “long-time tradition” of involvement in the food drive. Many of the events the college hosts, including the soup lunches, are held every year and “are very popular,” Vandetta said.
“We have a very generous group of faculty, staff and students,” Vandetta said. “We use the events as community building as well.”
As coordinators, Vandetta and Howard attend the campus-wide meetings, but “it takes the whole committee to run the food drive around here,” Vandetta said.
OSU’s chapter of the student organization Enactus (formerly SIFE), an international service organization, donated the equivalent of more than 13,000 pounds of food last year, according to the food drive website.
“Every year we participate as team in the food drive,” said Natasha Badaa, a senior in business management and initiative lead Fighting Hunger in the Homeland of the OSU chapter of Enactus.
This year, Enactus has become more involved than before, Badaa said, with students putting their skills to use and gaining experience with business and marketing.
One Enactus member is interning with Signs, another is redesigning marketing materials involved in the campaign, and the group is offering to give presentations to educate organizations on hunger issues, Badaa said.
The OSU food drive falls under one of three tiers of the Fighting Hunger in the Homeland: short-term relief.
McKinley Smith, news reporter