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Students donate 5,000 pounds of food with their extra meal points



Students in University Housing often find themselves with extra meal points at the end of each academic term. To help remedy waste of unused meal points while providing services to the community, University Housing has a point drive at the end of each academic term for students to donate unused meal points towards the purchase of food for those in need.

In recent years, the point drive has gone to FOOD for Lane County, a local nonprofit organization that collects and produces food for more than 100 social service agencies and programs.

Director of Food Services Tom Driscoll oversees the point drive, which has been going on for 10 years. Driscoll advocates for student involvement to facilitate the drive each term.@@http://uoregon.edu/findpeople/person/driscoll/1476@@

“We’ve done it as a Civil War food drive (with) Oregon State in past years, and other times it may be just an individual student with an interest and then it’s up to them to get others involved and plan the drive,” Driscoll said.

At the end of last winter term, students donated more than 5,000 pounds of food to FOOD for Lane County. Driscoll says that the typical drive will yield somewhere in that neighborhood.

“We have quite a few students who participate. Some students might give one or two points, others might give 10 or more. It takes a lot of participation to get almost 5,000 pounds of food together,” Driscoll said.

This idea has been replicated at other universities as well. Recently UCLA has been getting attention for their student-created nonprofit organization, Swipes for the Homeless.@@http://swipesforthehomeless.org/@@

Similar to the University’s point drive, Swipes for the Homeless donates unused meal points, but as the name suggests, these meal points go directly toward feeding the homeless.

After a few terms of highly successful drives, founder of Swipes for the Homeless Bryan Pezeshki decided to share his idea.@@http://swipesforthehomeless.org/chapters/ucla/@@

“This last quarter, we collected a little over 7,000 meals, and so I decided if it works so well on our campus, then it could work on other campuses as well,” Pezeshki said.

Since then, four other universities have started a chapter of Swipes for the Homeless on their campus.

But for University Housing, the practice of giving back to the community has long been a tradition.

In addition to the meal point drive, University Housing puts on Lighten Your Load, a program where at the end of the year students can donate unneeded resources, like clothing and school supplies, to teens in need.@@http://housing.uoregon.edu/reshalls/moving_out.php@@

“It’s definitely been a success. A lot of homeless teens have benefited from the things that have been donated by the students here,” founder Bonnie Damewood said.@@http://uoregon.edu/findpeople/person/Damewood@@

Campus Dining’s meal point drive and Lighten Your Load are scheduled to begin again at the end of the term.

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