The Food Project in Ashland, Talent and Medford has caught the attention of Cylvia Hayes, the girlfriend of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who has made combating hunger one of her priorities this year.

The Food Project in Ashland, Talent and Medford has caught the attention of Cylvia Hayes, the girlfriend of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who has made combating hunger one of her priorities this year. Hayes will visit with project organizers Monday with an eye toward possibly expanding the program to other communities throughout the state, said Food Project founder John Javna.

During the last pickup on Feb. 12, the Food Project in Ashland, Talent and Medford provided 31,000 pounds of food for local pantries. The next pickup, scheduled for Saturday, represents Ashland's 12th, Talent's ninth and Medford's second. Donors are reminded to place their green bags on their doorsteps first thing Saturday morning for pickup.

Neighborhood captains and other volunteers pick up bags of nonperishable goods from donors' doorsteps the second Saturday of even-numbered months. An empty bag is left for the donor to fill over eight weeks by buying one extra food item a week.

It's a simple concept that's easy for donors, provides a continuous supply of food for local pantries and helps build community, Javna has said.

Hayes also will accompany Kitzhaber on two stops Monday: At 10 a.m., the governor will kick off his "Cool Schools" initiative, an effort to make school buildings more energy efficient and conducive to successful learning, at Helman Elementary School, 705 Helman St., Ashland.

Then at 1:45 p.m., the governor and Hayes will tour Rogue Creamery in Central Point as part of his "Rebuild Oregon" tour.

Both stops are designed to highlight Kitzhaber's initiatives to create jobs statewide, a press release said.