Oregon State University: Oregon State Food Drive raises equivalent of nearly 450,000 meals for state’s most vulnerable residents

The Oregon State University Food Drive raised the equivalent of 447,393 meals in February, equating to 71 meals raised per university employee, the most of any participating public university in the state.

“This is the first February since the beginning of the pandemic where students and staff were back on campus,” said Shelly Signs, OSU food drive chair and director of university events. “Organizers were mindful of health and safety restrictions due to COVID-19 but still managed to find a lot of great ways to raise money for this important cause.”

For the food drive, every $1 raised equates to four pounds of food or more than three meals. Organizers raised donations through payroll deductions, food donations and a variety of fundraisers held on campus. The OSU Alumni Association and OSU Foundation raised the most donations this year, the equivalent of 59,080 meals.

Every February, in conjunction with the Governor’s State Employees Food Drive, the university community comes together and plans a wide variety of food and fund-raising activities to help the hungry.

Proceeds from the OSU Corvallis campus effort benefit the Linn-Benton Food Share, which distributes food to local food pantries including the OSU food pantry, as well as soup kitchens, emergency shelters, day care centers, shelter homes, and gleaning groups in Linn and Benton counties.

Resources gathered by OSU-Cascades, county Extension offices, Experiment Stations and centers associated with OSU around the state are directed to local food banks in those areas.

Linn-Benton Food Share director Ryan McCambridge said the OSU food drive allows the food share to maintain a diverse and healthy food supply, both in volume and nutritional quality.

“Due to the support of the OSU community, LBFS can invest in local farms and businesses with these donated dollars in providing the essential food that thousands of our neighbors rely on each month,” McCambridge said. “The recent spikes in prices of food, gas and other essentials have put a strain on many family budgets. February 2022 saw 3,085 households requesting emergency food, a 9.7% increase over the same month last year.”

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