The Oregon State University Food Drive had a banner year in 2020 with totals surpassing last year’s successful campaign. This February, Oregon State University staff, faculty and students raised the equivalent of 392,596 meals ($1 equals three meals). That beat last year’s total by 27,794 meals.

“Each year we are astonished at the creativity and enthusiasm our Oregon State University community has in holding events, donating nonperishable items and making monetary contributions to the food drive,” said OSU Food Drive Chair Shelly Signs. “The generosity of the OSU community means that many thousands of meals are being made available to Oregonians across the state.”

Every year during the month of February the university comes together and plans a wide variety of food and fund-raising activities to help the hungry. This effort is in conjunction with the Governor's State Employees Food Drive. The resources gathered by County Extension Offices, Experiment Stations and Centers associated with OSU go to their local food banks. Proceeds from the OSU Corvallis campus benefit the Linn-Benton Food Share. They distribute 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.

Miesha Bennett, education program assistant with the OSU Extension Office in Wheeler County, said the food drive totals this year were a bright spot during a difficult time. “I was just thinking yesterday that the food drive came at a great time, hopefully we were able to help folks that are being affected by this outbreak.”

While the main goal is of course raising donations, there is also a spirit of friendly competition among groups on campus. Units ‘compete’ based on size, and this year’s winners (who raised the most meals through monetary and food donations) are as follows:

Off campus organizations: Hatfield Marine Science Center with 4,205 meals

Student organizations: Honors College Student Association with 6,271 meals

Team 1 (1-20 employees): Biological & Ecological Engineering with 7,350 meals

Team 2 (21-50 employees): 6th floor Kerr Admin with 9,675 meals

Team 3 (51-100 employees): Botany and Plant Pathology with 23,900 meals

Team 4 (101+ employees): College of Forestry with 57,642 meals

Total food donations in pounds was 21,590

Total payroll donations was $67,604

Total donation ledgers (fundraising activities etc) was $57,902

Each year, Oregon State helps to feed the hungry in Linn and Benton counties through a variety of ways. In addition to the annual Food Drive, food is collected throughout the year from the dining halls, catering, and other sources. In Klamath Falls, Beavers are partnering with the local Rotary Club to grow 15,000-22,000 pounds of food from a production garden. This produce is going directly to the area food bank and other organizations working to feed the hungry.