SOU President Linda Schott has reached out to the university’s employees, asking them to help reduce food insecurity on campus by donating as they are able to the annual Governor’s State Employee Food Drive, which runs through February. All food or money contributed at SOU will go directly to the Student Food Pantry.
“I recognize that we are all in difficult times, but for those of you who are able, please consider helping the Student Food Pantry reach its goal of raising $5,000 this month to help sustain its charitable mission through the year,” the president wrote in an email to employees.
A 2018 survey in the “Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition” found that 43.5 percent of U.S. college and university students face food insecurity – a much higher rate that the 13 percent of households nationwide that were found in an earlier study. Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon – a Portland nonprofit that works with students, organizations, schools and legislators – polled 197 students last year from 11 public colleges and universities, and found that 71 percent had experienced food insecurity in the previous 12 months.
“The most difficult thing about college should be the academic coursework, but it isn’t,” one student from Columbia Gorge Community College told the nonprofit. “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.”
SOU’s Student Food Pantry provided 195 bags of 10 food items each to more than 90 students facing food insecurity during fall term 2020.
Employees and others who wish to help SOU students by donating to the Governor’s State Employee Food drive will have three options this year:
- Non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at the Stevenson Union’s Welcome Desk anytime from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Items the Food Pantry could use the most include hearty soups (both meat and vegetarian), instant oatmeal, non-dairy shelf-stable milk, canned beans, canned vegetables and granola bars. Contact the Student Food Pantry at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
- Anyone can make a contribution via a one-time donation by visiting the Food Pantry website. The form is always available and donations are accepted throughout the year.
- SOU employees are encouraged to sign up for monthly payroll contributions to provide ongoing support for the Student Food Pantry. You may fill out a Payroll Deduction Form and send the electronic copy directly to the SOU Foundation at SOUFoundation@sou.edu by Feb. 28. Those completing the form should select “other” and fill in “SOU Food Pantry” as the fund.