EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- As the University of Oregon's Ducks move out of the residence halls, some big projects have come along to get students helping the less fortunate, homeless and low income families across Lane County through donation of unneeded items and food vouchers.
Through an annual program called “Lighten your Load,” volunteers with Springfield Public Schools Family Resource Centers is helping tackle the hassle students hit when moving out of the residences halls of having too much stuff to take on the long trip home.
Through June 10th, 2011, the students last day in the residence halls, volunteers are taking clothing, household items, no-perishable food, laundry, bath accessories, soaps, books, furniture, electronics and more. Virtually any unnecessary item with another use is being scooped up and repurposed by “Family Resource Centers” volunteers to be donated to low income and homeless youth of Lane County.
Many students who don't want stuff from their residence hall rooms either throw the items away or leave them behind. The “Lighten your Load” volunteers have been offering a residence hall wide collection for more than 10 years now. In the last few years, they've kept more than 20,000 pounds of items out of the landfill.
“We end up working with a lot of youth that are very low income but yet they're given grants and loans and scholarships for the year, but they don't have the money to buy the small refrigerators or the bedding or a lot of even the supplies, so this allows us to really get those kids set up,” says Gloria Griffith with the Springfield Public Schools Family Resource Centers.
Donations to the “Family Resource Centers” are collected almost entirely by volunteers, who pour in about 400 hours of work to help.
Food For Lane County is also benefitting from students, who have been donating their unused meal points to the local food pantry. So far, about $1,200 worth of the UO students food points (which typically buy food in the residence halls) are going to Food for Lane County. The collection started with a residence hall action group as a way to give back to the community.
“It's something that we appreciate, when students come in, we like them to be a part of the community, the bigger community here in the Eugene and Springfield and Lane County area,” says Kelly McIver, marketing manager for UO Housing.
“This is a great one because it really takes no effort on the students part other than just being willing to participate in the program,” says McIver.
Typically, with the cash, UO housing buys beans and rice or other non-perishable food items with the point-cash to donate to Food for Lane County. Last year, students raised $1,400 through the same program.
Students have their last day in the residence halls on Friday, June 10th, 2011. Next year, residence hall students will take part in first ever staggered move-in, with students from the furthest away getting to move in the earliest, and students from more local areas getting to move in later.