BEND, Ore. - Nearly one month ago, Cindy Tidball woke up to a frightening phone call.: The Trinity Episcopal Church and St. Helens Hall in Bend were on fire.
The area used by the Family Kitchen was barely touched by the flames, but they lost power and were unable to serve the hundreds of people in need of a warm meal.
"We were scrambling and making phone calls, getting people in here, trying to get power back and get meals for all the people," said Tidball, the program coordinator for Family Kitchen.
After seeing the damage, community support started pouring in.
"This is really an important place, and they could really use the money," said Nuta Rauch of Bend.
Rauch's husband volunteers at the Family Kitchen once a month. Even though she doesn't use its services, she says she can't help but want to help.
"This is a community thing, and I just wanted to show that there is a community out there that cares for everyone here," Rauch said.
That's why Nita is our Pay it Forward winner.
On behalf of NewsChannel 21, Co Energy Propane and Mid Oregon Credit Union, we presented Rauch with $500 to pay it forward to the Family Kitchen.
Then we surprised Cindy one afternoon.
"Wow! This is great," Tidball said.
She added that the money will be able to buy more groceries for more people in need.
"Our groceries run about a dollar a meal, so that's 500 meals that are going to get served this week. It's just special," Tidball said.
A special treat, for a group who pays it forward, one meal at a time.
"That $500 is going to go really far," Tidball said.
Bend police are still offering a $20,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest in those fires.
If you would like to nominate someone or a group for our Pay it Forward award, you can do so under the Contests tab at KTVZ.COM, or visit http://www.ktvz.com/payitforward.