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Employee-owned grocery stores & customers raise over $75,000 to fight hunger

Newport Avenue Market and Oliver Lemon’s Shoppers Raise Record Amount

Demand for food has continued to rise during the pandemic, and local organizations are relying on donations now more than ever. Three Central Oregon organizations that provide meals and food boxes received a boost this week thanks to Newport Avenue Market and Oliver Lemon’s customers and colleagues’ generosity.

Each December, Newport Avenue Market and Oliver Lemon’s shoppers donate money to the Food for February fundraiser, and the 100% employee-owned markets match the funds. This year the combined effort raised $75,015. As a result of the fundraiser, the funds raised will be used to purchase groceries at cost for Family Kitchen of Bend, Sisters Kiwanis Foodbank, and Meals on Wheels of Central Oregon.

Newport Avenue Market and Oliver Lemon’s teams work closely with their wholesalers to purchase thousands of pounds of food, including fresh produce and meat, from the shopping lists of Family Kitchen of Bend, Sisters Kiwanis Foodbank, and Meals on Wheels of Central Oregon.

“The pandemic has made hunger more widespread, and it’s more important than ever that our neighbors have nutritious meals,” said Lauren G.R. Johnson, CEO of Rudy’s Markets Inc. “We are humbled by the generosity of our customers.”

It is not commonly known that February is one of the hardest-hitting months for hungry families in Central Oregon. Money is tight after the holidays, donations dwindle, and food pantries are depleted. Since 2011, Food for February has raised over $345,000 for hungry families in Central Oregon, including $159,000 in matching funds from Newport Avenue Market and Oliver Lemon’s.

“We are proud to have Oliver Lemon’s of Terrebonne as a community partner,” said Brice Mercer, Operations Manager, Redmond Senior Center. “The Food for February fundraiser will help hundreds of our senior neighbors receive fresh and nutritious meals. We want to thank everyone over at Oliver Lemon’s for being a friend to older adults in the Redmond area.”

 About Rudy’s Market Inc. Since opening its flagship grocery store in 1976, Rudy’s Markets have been the No. 1 choice of foodies in Central Oregon. Today, Rudy’s Markets Inc. operates three locally founded, 100% employee-owned specialty grocery stores in Central Oregon: Newport Avenue Market in Bend, and Oliver Lemon’s in Sisters and Terrebonne. Rudy’s Markets offers shoppers both mainstream and hard-to-find food items as well as kitchenware and unusual gifts. Its stores support local producers, and offer an expansive selection of high-quality, in-demand food and beverage items, including over 600 varieties of craft beer. For more details, go to www.newportavemarket.com www.oliverlemons.com

About Family Kitchen Guided by the belief that nobody should be hungry, the Family Kitchen has been providing meals to anyone in need since 1986. Family Kitchen serves three dinners and four lunches each week, averaging 4,500 meals per month served by over 250 volunteers. Our diners are treated with respect and are asked nothing but to leave with a full stomach. Family Kitchen operates as a separate entity sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church (EIN 93-0427371). For more information, please visit www.familykitchen.org.

About Sisters Kiwanis Foodbank In its three-decade history, Sisters Kiwanis has been involved in the development and support of many community organizations, including Scouts, Campfire, Little League, organized soccer, Habitat for Humanity, and Sisters Organization for Activities and Recreation to name just a few. In addition, Kiwanis volunteers maintain and staff the community food bank, which provides emergency food boxes for less fortunate citizens in the area. Food Bank Open Thursdays, 9am-2pm 328 W. Main Street, Sisters, OR 97759. For more information, please visit www.sisterskiwanis.org/food-bank/

About Redmond Oregon Senior Center Meals on Wheels of Central Oregon is a community-based program of the Redmond Senior Center. It provides adults, 60 years or older, either home-bound or having difficulty shopping/cooking, a nutritious meal, a friendly visit, and a quick safety check. According to the last census, over 23% of the Redmond, Terrebonne and Crooked River Ranch population is 50 or older. By 2025, the number of seniors is expected to double. With rising food costs and the lack of public transit, many older citizens are finding it harder to access nutritious meals. Redmond Senior Center’s vision is that no senior will go hungry or become overwhelmed with social isolation. Staff and volunteers are working to help our senior neighbors survive and thrive during these challenging times by providing fresh and healthy meals along with a warm friendly smile. For more information, please visit www.redmondseniors.org

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