By Devin Swift
Chemeketa staff, put down your tuna cans and raviolis.
The Spring into Giving campaign has ended, with Chemeketa’s office of the vice president and chief financial officer as the largest donor, with 353 items.
Tutoring Services came in close with a total of 340 items.
Skye Hibbard, Chemeketa’s AmeriCorps VISTA food relief coordinator, said, “We have had to double the space devoted to the food pantry in the Office of Student Retention and College Life, and the shelves are full. Even as items were coming in in waves, they were being taken home by students in bags to feed themselves and their families. So thank you for your generosity. It is much needed and much appreciated.”
According to Hibbard, the food drive ran from April 17 to 30. The total number of items donated in the two-week span was around 1,770.
The campaign was for Chemeketa staff members to make donations to the Chemeketa Food Pantry in the student retention and college life office in Bldg. 2. The donations were counted and tallied per office, and the office with the largest donation would win pizzas donated by Northwest Innovations.
“Lynn Melow and Nancy Espinosa spearheaded the effort after a cohort from the Strength in Diversity seminar posed the idea of offering a challenge to staff,” Hibbard said. “I shared with Lynn the model created by some students in my community service leadership class during winter term; they approached [instructor] Michele Dishong McCormack to set up a competition between her classes here at Chemeketa, and she offered to buy pizza for the winners. [It] seemed to be a good motivator.”
Because of the success of this campaign, it may return next year. However, the donations do not need to stop. The college life office accepts donations all year.
Students and staff are welcome to donate any labeled, non-perishable, and undamaged food.
Currently the most-needed items are: peanut butter, jam or jelly, canned pasta, complete box meals, granola or breakfast bars, caffeinated coffee, diapers, spaghetti, crackers, toilet paper and paper towels, packaged or shelf-stable fruit, shampoo and conditioner, baking mixes, cereal, laundry detergent, and dish soap.
“The drive will enable us to continue to provide an extensive variety of things in addition to dry and canned goods,” Hibbard said.
To receive a food bag from the retention office, students or staff members must provide a K number to the receptionists at the front desk. They are then asked to fill out a survey and selection sheet, where they can choose the type of items they would like.
The Chemeketa Food Pantry also offers small lunch bags.
Hibbard said, “By coming here, students can save a little of their monthly budget and use the money to help pay their bills. The other thing I am proud of is that we are now offering fresh produce from the campus gardens at Chemeketa, encouraging people to cook for themselves again and consume more healthy vegetables.
“We address something that I call the SNAP gap. We can give people things that are not provided by the federal supplemental nutrition program [formerly known as food stamps]. SNAP does not cover paper products, cleaners, detergents, or other household supplies, and it also does not cover toiletries or pet food, all of which are important needs for families.”