EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- As Occupy Eugene resettles in Eugene’s Washington-Jefferson Park through mid-January, some are wondering about its increasing cost and what the money would do if it were spent to help another cause.
So far, the city of Eugene has spent at least $115,000 in extra police services related to patrolling the Occupy Eugene protest. Wednesday, December 14th, 2011, Eugene City Council approved the expenditure of at least $300,000 more for police and transitional services when the camp likely comes to a close on January 11th, 2011.
Several city councilors voted against the cost, including Pat Farr. In a blog post Friday, December 17th, 2011, Farr wrote about how $300,000 could have helped Food for Lane County. Farr used to be the director of the non-profit food bank. (Read the blog post at the following link: http://www.forumlane.org/?p=1213.)
NewsSource 16 contacted Food for Lane County about the idea. It says $300,000 could pay for 900,000 meals.
In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, Food For Lane County served about 16,400 meals a day. The organization says large donations in the 100-thousand dollar range don’t come often and it doesn’t expect them regularly.
“There are other agencies and other needs in the community and we support them, we have a very good working partnership with the other non-profits in this area and we all work together to try and solve problems for people,” says Dawn Marie Woodward, a spokeswoman for Food for Lane County.
Food for Lane County says food pantry requests for supplies are up by about 5% in this most recent fiscal year. Right now, it’s serving about 150,000 meals per week.
In terms of food donations, Food For Lane County is coming off of a very successful Letter Carriers Food Drive, driven by local postal service employees with donations from the Lane County community.
During the drive, the FFLC collected nearly 164,000 pounds of food, enough for about a week of food donations, representing only about 3% of FFLC’s yearly meal delivers.
The good news is that what was collected has a long shelf life.
“Right now our food boxes at the pantry level, they consist about 50% perishable items and about 50 percent shelf stable, ideally that should be about 80 percent shelf stable and 20 percent perishable so this really helps us increase that balance,” says Woodward.
Food For Lane County says it is looking for protein packed food donations the most these days including items like canned meats, stews, tomatoes and beans, also peanut butter, boxed mac-and-cheese, pasta, rice and cereal.