BEND, Ore. -

Winning the fight against hunger in Deschutes County, the local Hunger Prevention Coalition of Central Oregon celebrates their giving of a half-million dollars since 2000.

Twelve local agencies benefit from this funding to provide nutritious food for the hungry in our area, thanks to the generosity of local residents who contribute to the “Help Fill Empty Plates” program found at stores, generous donations, and participants of Rude Rudy’s annual golf tournament.

Since the beginning of the year, $7,800 has been distributed to local partner agencies who serve thousands of meals and donate food boxes to needy families, elderly, disabled, homeless, and unemployed Central Oregonians. During the 2012 fiscal year alone, HPC distributed over $80,000. And since its inception in 2000, the “Help Fill Empty Plates”program has given $500,000 to the following partner organizations: 

?    Bethlehem Inn

?    Community of Christ Church

?    Family Kitchen

?    Holy Trinity Care and Share

?    LaPine Community Kitchen

?    Oasis Soup Kitchen

?    Salvation Army- Bend

?    Saving Grace

?    St. Vincent de Paul- Bend, Prineville and LaPine

?    The Giving Plate

It’s a fact the economy in Deschutes County is on the upswing with a population of over 162,000 and growing, but 11.4% are still living under poverty level. These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days.

HPC is inspired at the generosity of local residents contributing to the “Help Fill Empty Plates” program found at stores throughout the county. Placards are located at or near the checkout stand of participating stores. They contain coupons that may be purchased in increments of $10, $5 and $2.45. One hundred percent raised through this program goes directly to local food providers and shelters to help individuals and families in need.

Participating “Help Fill Empty Plates” stores include Newport Avenue Market, several area Erickson Thriftway stores, Ray's Food Place Markets, Sunriver Country Store, Food 4 Less, Grocery Outlets, Shop Smart, Tumalo Country Store, Centwise Hardware, and St. Vincent De Paul-LaPine’s Thrift Store. The program seeks to enroll more stores in Central Oregon to support and help HPC with the fight against hunger. Contact kaseyevery@gmail.com or 208-250-7540 for more information or visit www.hungerpc.org