EUGENE, Ore.— What happens when you mix hundreds of frozen turkeys, 1,000 pounds of flour, 500 pounds of Hungarian paprika, untold amounts of dried fruits, peanut butter, honey, espresso chocolate flakes, and other foods, with compassion and vision? You get a recipe to feed hungry people.
The Lane Community College Center for Meeting and Learning and the Eugene Mission have teamed up to transform donated foods into delicious meals for at-risk populations. Local retailers such as Trader Joe’s and Glory Bee Foods donated surplus food to the Mission after the COVID-19 outbreak curtailed business. Beth Sheehan, director of philanthropy at the Eugene Mission and an LCC Foundation board member, then contacted the CML, known for its culinary excellence and innovation.
“We were thrilled,” said LCC Chef Tim Hill, who will direct the project. LCC Conference and Catering Coordinator Paula Westgate said, “This is a collaborative, far-reaching project that will help meet food needs in our community, help the Mission turn surplus inventory into food, and address food waste.”
The team cooked up a plan last week and work begins this week when LCC chefs tour the Mission’s storehouses and load up the college’s catering van with 100 turkeys to be roasted at LCC’s kitchen on main campus. The cooked turkey will then be vacuum sealed, flash frozen, and distributed to local nonprofits for disbursement to families in need.
Other ideas are to turn oats, sugar, flour, nuts, and dried fruits into granola bars for outreach teams, and to make and freeze casseroles from donated sauces, cheeses and other ingredients, that can be reheated at home.
COVID-19 precautions including physical distancing, masks, gloves, and sanitation will be strictly adhered to throughout the project, said Westgate.
What happens when the food is gone? “We are always looking for ways to put our professional skills to use for the benefit or our community,” said Chef Tim.
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Lane Community College educates over 25,000 students annually at six locations across Lane County and online. Students and alumni from all 50 states and 79 countries create more than an $850 million dollar impact on the local economy, helping to support more than 13,000 local jobs. Lane provides affordable, quality, professional technical and college transfer programs; business development and employee training; academic, language and life skills development; and lifelong personal development and enrichment courses.