Rainy Day Food Pantry organizers Michael Weed and Darlene Azarmi sort through donations in the Center Building on Nov. 14.
Photo: Laura Newman
Rainy Day Food Pantry organizers Michael Weed and Darlene Azarmi sort through donations in the Center Building on Nov. 14.Photo: Laura Newman

Rainy Day Food Pantry organizers Michael Weed and Darlene Azarmi sort through donations in the Center Building on Nov. 14.
Photo: Laura Newman

Lane’s new food pantry for students has opened and will give food away Nov. 21 and 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Rainy Day Food Pantry, located in Room 218 of the Center Building, opened Nov. 20.

Operated by student government’s Sustainable Food Committee, the pantry is intended to address hunger on the Lane Campus, where more than 30,000 students attended class.

The pantry will distribute non-perishable foods including vegetables, canned meats, macaroni and cheese, beans and 40 cans of goat milk.

Sustainability Coordinator Mike Weed and Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group Lane organizer Darlene Azarmi said the Food Committee was formed because of the substantial number of students who qualify as people in need of assistance.

“I’d say that about 65 to 75 percent of our students qualify as (a person of need) easily. I actually haven’t looked at it this year, but it may be closer to 80 percent,” Weed said.

To receive benefits, a student is required to fill out an original intake form and provide proof they are currently enrolled at Lane.

“The way a lot of these places work, (on) small campuses like this, is more on an honorbased system,” Weed said at an ASLCC meeting.

Weed said the application to Oregon Food Bank for assistance had to be resubmitted because the original
nonprofit sponsor, OSPIRG, was ineligible. FOOD for Lane County still approved the pantry, but until Oregon Food Bank finishes processing the application, it cannot supply assistance.

OSPIRG, which seeks to provide an independent voice for consumers, was not eligible because it is legally a research group. The Lane Community College Foundation is the current nonprofit sponsor for the pantry. The foundation is in charge of raising funds for the campus and scholarships for students.

Because of the need to resubmit its application, the Rainy Day Pantry’s upcoming distributions will be provided for solely by Food Committee fundraisers. Once the application is processed, FOOD for
Lane County will help supply resources to the pantry.

Weed said the Food Committee currently has more than $400 in donations as well as donated food. OSPIRG has donated $288 from a fundraiser at Ninkasi Brewing in May and an additional $66.21 from a bake sale earlier this term. ASLCC donated another $50 from its funds.

Two OSPIRG members who sit on the Food Committee have planned separate fundraising events for the coming week.

The first of these events, organized by John Taylor, is a movie night Nov. 22 at 6 p.m.
at Titan Court. In exchange for two or three cans, moviegoers can watch the film Pursuit of
Happyness. All donations will go directly to the pantry.

Andrei Tutui is organizing a two-mile run and walk to raise money and canned goods. The event will start on Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. by Hayward Field and ends at Track Town Pizza in Eugene.

“This is a test run. We are planning a major one with more sponsors later,” Tutui said.

Weed said ASLCC has set aside $10,000 for the Sustainable Food Committee, the bulk of which is slated to be used by the Rainy Day Pantry. The committee is in the process of getting the funds transferred
into their control.

Professor Teresa Hughes has her Video Production II class creating short videos for the Rainy Day Pantry.
Student filmmakers Tania Colgan and Bryan Emanuel said there were four teams working to make films to serve as public service announcements, training for volunteers at the pantry, and general  advertising.

Colgan and Emanuel’s assignment is a film showing the process a person goes through when getting food from the pantry.

The pantry is technically a pilot project, but Weed said his goal was to petition for it to be a permanent fixture come spring term.

The Rainy Day Pantry has been an ongoing goal of the Food Committee since Spring 2013. The committee is made up of a combination of students from ASLCC, OSPIRG and students at large.

Weed wrote in an email that because OSPIRG, ASLCC and the Sustainable Food Committee were integral in forming the pantry he wanted each group to play a role in managing the endeavor.

Azarmi said that during spring term they were able to get hundreds of faculty and staff to sign a petition in
support of creating the Rainy Day Pantry. Lane Community College’s President Mary Spilde
was among those that signed.

Azarmi and incoming Lane OSPIRG organizer Alicia Bissonette credit then-OSPIRG intern Adam Brown with the original presentation to ASLCC that formed the Sustainable Food Committee. Azarmi said it is because of this that OSPIRG has done so much to help support the Food Committee and the Rainy Day Pantry.

“Because it was something an OSPIRG student had worked with we were like, ‘Cool, what’s going on with
this committee?’ And then we just started working together through the committee,” Azarmi said.

The Rainy Day Pantry has received more than $400 in donations.Photo: Laura Newman

The Rainy Day Pantry has received more than $400 in donations.
Photo: Laura Newman