BEND, Ore. - Nine overflowing shopping carts of groceries. Eight Farm Bureau volunteers. One long cashier's receipt. And
$1,500 raised by the Oregon Farm Bureau Women's Advisory Council and donated by County Farm Bureaus.
Together, these numbers add up to a pantry full of groceries at the Ronald McDonald House Charity in Bend, a home away from home for the families of critically ill children being treated at a nearby hospital.
"When families come to stay with us, they're dealing with a stressful, often tragic situation," said Teresa Braun, director of guest services at the Bend Ronald McDonald House. "Having a fully-stocked pantry relieves a piece of that stress. They don't have to worry about finding meals."
"Most of us know someone who has used this facility. It's important for Farm Bureau to support the Ronald McDonald House and the services it provides to members of our local community," said Mickey Killingsworth, chair of the OFB Women's Advisory Council.
In 2016, there were 1,466 visits at Oregon's three Ronald McDonald House Charities for a total of 13,610 nights where families stayed and utilized its services. The houses are particularly valuable to families from rural counties who must travel farther distances for hospital treatment.
This donation of groceries, which occurred on Monday, is an annual tradition organized by the OFB Women's Advisory Council that spans the entire 20-year history of the house in Bend, and almost 30 years at the two houses based in Portland; the Portland donation of groceries took place on March 20. In 2017, all three locations received $1,500 worth of food from Farm Bureau.
"The fact that this comes from people who grow our food is especially meaningful, particularly in this day and age where so many of us aren't connected to agriculture," said Braun.
"As farmers and ranchers, we raise food and fiber for society every day. When we make this donation of groceries, we get to see that food going to support families in a very direct way," said Mollie Eder, member of Crook-Wheeler County Farm Bureau. "I look forward to it every year."
The Women's Advisory Council thanks the many County Farm Bureaus that contributed funds to this event, as well as Erickson's Thriftway in Madras, which gave a 10% discount on all items purchased.
As a grassroots organization, OFB very much appreciates the dedicated Farm Bureau volunteers who took time away from their farms and ranches at a very busy time of year to participate in this important effort: Mickey Killingsworth, chair of the OFB Women's Advisory Council; Mollie Eder of Crook-Wheeler County Farm Bureau; Kristie Glaser, vice chair of the OFB Women's Advisory Council; Brandon Glaser of Linn County Farm Bureau; Sue Vanek, president of Jefferson County Farm Bureau; Nancy Klatt of Jefferson County Farm Bureau; Cindy Tichenor of Jefferson County Farm Bureau; Roberta Valladao of Deschutes County Farm Bureau; as well as OFB's Anne Marie Moss.