Hungry to Help?
Every February the SOU community comes together to organize the February Food Drive, working to alleviate hunger on our campus and in our community. All food and funds raised go directly to support the SOU Student Food Pantry, which serves students with reliable access to food. The food drive is in partnership with the Governor’s State Employee Food Drive of Oregon, where employee contributions work to alleviate hunger in our state.
Help us reach the goal of raising $6,000 and 3,000 pounds of food in February to support the Student Food Pantry!
One-time monetary donation: Anyone can make a contribution via a one-time donation by visiting https://giving.sou.edu/food-pantry/. You do not need to be SOU faculty or staff to donate and help students on campus.
Monthly payroll deduction contribution: SOU employees are encouraged to sign up for a monthly payroll contribution to provide ongoing support for the SOU Student Food Pantry. To sign-up, fill out a Payroll Deduction Form and send the electronic copy directly to the SOU Foundation by February 28th at SOUFoundation@sou.edu . On the form, select “other” and fill in SOU Food Pantry as the Fund.
Donations of any size are appreciated! If you can, we encourage employees to take the “Governor’s Challenge” to donate $12 per month, or $144 for the year!
Fill the Bin Building Competition: On the main floor of each SOU building will be a collection bin for non-perishable food items, which will go towards supporting the SOU Student Food Pantry. Bins will be placed in buildings beginning February 3rd, 2023. Employees should be on the lookout for detailed instructions in their email and campus mailbox. Don’t know where your building’s barrel is located? Inquire with your building manager or email the Student Food Pantry at firstname.lastname@example.org . Barrels will be collected and weighed on Friday March 3rd.
Community Donation Drops: Community member food donations are greatly appreciated. Throughout the month of February, easily accessible donation bins will be located in the following locations:
- Stevenson Union 1118 Siskiyou Boulevard, Monday-Friday 8am-8pm at the SU Welcome Desk. Free 30 minute parking is available on University Way by the SU. Need assistance bringing your donation to the drop location? Student employees at the Welcome Desk can help!
- Oregon Center for the Arts Box Office between the Music and Theatre Buildings on South Mountain Avenue, Monday-Friday 3-6pm, and 1 hour before every performance.
- Lithia Motors Pavilion, 1465 Webster St, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm and during athletic events, in the building entrance next to the ticket sales window.
Items the Student Food Pantry could use the most include hearty soups (both meat and vegetarian), instant oatmeal, microwaveable/instant meals, nut butters, pasta, pasta sauce, canned beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, etc), cereal, non-dairy milk, and snack bars. Contact the Student Food Pantry at email@example.com with any questions.
Student Hunger is Real
Student hunger is real and has painful consequences. A 2018 survey in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition found that 43.5% of students face food insecurity during their college careers. The non-profit Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon conducted a survey of college students from across the state in 2020- here are some particularly poignant responses:
“When I’m not getting enough nutrients into my body, I’m more likely to not feel energized to go to class. So, if I do go to class, I’m not learning anything. If I stay home, I’m being penalized for not going even though it’s the same result.” (Student, Western Oregon University)
“The most difficult thing about college should be the academic coursework, but it isn’t. The most difficult thing is trying to survive without incurring soul-crushing debt or breaking yourself by working extra jobs to make ends meet. ‘Choosing’ between buying books for your class, medicine you need to live, and food to eat isn’t really a choice – it’s just picking the least horrible path.” (Student, Columbia Gorge Community College)
Food insecurity is just as real at SOU. During Fall Term 2020, the Student Food Pantry provided 195 bags of 10 items to over 90 different students facing food insecurity in some form. In a recent January 2021 feedback survey sent to current Student Food Pantry users, one student commented:
“I use the Food Pantry once a week. The pick-up process is so easy that it makes getting supplemental food not scary or embarrassing. I have been able to focus more on my school work since I have been using the food pantry, as I no longer have to worry about having enough to eat to sustain me during the week.” (Student, Southern Oregon University)
Help Spread the Word
We can always use help promoting the food drive within the SOU and broader community. If you are keen to help spread the word, here are some ways you can help:
- Add a promotional note to the bottom of your email signature. For example: February is Food Drive month at SOU! Visit the February Food Drive website to find out how to contribute non-perishable food, a one-time monetary donation, or how to sign up for a monthly payroll deduction to support the SOU Student Food Pantry.
- Share or repost February Food Drive content on your social media pages. Visit @sou_studentsustainability on Instagram or @studentsustainability on Facebook for shareable posts.