C.O. Special Olympics athletes collect cans

Three Ray's Food Place stores help fund-raiser

POSTED: 8:46 PM PDT June 1, 2013    UPDATED: 9:55 PM PDT June 1, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

Special Olympics in Central Oregon does a variety of fund-raisers, from the Polar Plunge to Tip a Cop -- and Saturday's was just as important.

Ray's Food Place stores in Bend, Redmond and Prineville hosted the annual Build-a-Mountain can and bottle drive.

Trucks were parked outside the stores, with mountains of cans and bottles stacked up.

All of the donations help support athletes here on the High Desert who compete in the different sports.

"It makes me feel good, because I'm giving back to the community and helping pay off Special Olympics stuff," said Nicole Harder, a Special Olympics athlete. "So we can go further, like Washington or something like that to compete."

"I just love it," said Angie Schmieling, Special Olympics coach. "I love the athletes. I love what we do. I like seeing them succeed in everything they do. They are just always so happy, even in just participating. I just love it."

Last year, the High Desert Special Olympics earned $3,000  from the event, and they were on track to make the same amount this year.