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Annual food drive stocks shelves at SnowCap Community Charities to feed locals in need.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA  - Grocery Outlet owner Cory Price says it's a no-brainer to help the community. His store is offering $5 bags of groceries for shoppers to purchase and donate now through Jan. 5, 2018.You can eat a freshly-baked, mouthwatering cinnamon roll, buy food at Grocery Outlet, or test drive a lovely new Ford and help working poor residents in the area put food on the table.

"It is inspiring to us to see the business community finding ways to make it fun for our community" to support SnowCap Community Charities' food pantry, said Kirsten Wageman, executive director of SnowCap, 17805 S.E. Stark St., in Gresham.

The annual Fill-A-Bag food drive, which launches Thursday, Nov. 2, stocks the shelves at SnowCap, the largest food pantry in East Multnomah County. Last year the drive raised the equivalent of 875,000 pounds of food for local families in need and was the biggest food drive for the nonprofit organization.

Of course, Fill-A-Bag welcomes donations of non-perishable food or cash. A $20 donation can buy 400 pounds of food for the hungry in East Multnomah County. "SnowCap's money can go a lot farther than when people shop at the store. But we also love the food that comes in from Fill-A-Bag," Wageman said.

The Fill-A-Bag campaign has multiple events that allow people to give in fun, unique ways, such as the Friday, Nov. 3, Ford test drive or buying a cinnamon roll at Biscuits on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA  - Scrumptious! David Ligatich, owner of Biscuits Cafe, shows off one the the restaurants signature cinnamon rolls. Buy one Tuesday, Nov. 14, and the proceeds will go to Fill-A-Bag for SnowCap's food pantry.  "Our cinnamon rolls are so popular," noted Biscuits Cafe owner Dave Ligatich, that he decided to whip up a huge batch and donate the cinnamon-y sales to SnowCap.

"You don't have to write a check to raise money for SnowCap," said Bess Wills, an owner of Gresham Ford. "You and your family can enjoy things you already enjoy and raise money for SnowCap at the same time."

The Fill-A-Bag food drive, which runs through Jan. 5, 2018, is spearheaded by Riverview Community Bank and Gresham Ford. Individuals and many local businesses in the Gresham area join forces to bulk up SnowCap's stores.

"Anything we can do to help our community and our neighbors, it's a no brainer," Cory Price owner of Grocery Outlet, which will hold a celebrity cashier event.

Fill-A-Bag also raises awareness of hunger in the Gresham area and shows how communities can make a difference when they work together, organizers noted.

People can "like" the Fill-A-Bag Facebook page to create even more impact and post photos on Facebook and tag them @snowcapfillabag. "If you like the Facebook page, you'll know about the events" to help raise money for the pantry, Wills said.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA  - SnowCap volunteer Erin Klambach sorts donations at SnowCap's food pantry. Many of SnowCap's customers are working poor or people on fixed incomes. There also is a spot on SnowCap's web page, at bit.ly/2x1WblU, to donate directly with a credit card.

If you want to put food in the collection bins, Wageman suggests "hearty" fare such as soups, chili, stews, canned meats, peanut butter, tuna and the like.

"We can always use grains as well," she said, such as rice, rice mixes, barley and oatmeal. "Whatever you feed your family" is a good donation to SnowCap.

She urged people to think of "quick, easy healthy" foods that would work for a busy mom dashing off to work.

Some in the community don't realize most of the people who make their monthly visit to the SnowCap food pantry are not homeless or destitute.

"There is no stereotype of what the face of hunger looks like in East County," Wageman said. "Many (of our clients) have jobs, but they're not sufficient to support their families, especially with increasing rents. We see a lot of two-income households that are stretching their dollars to the max."

In addition to the working poor, many of SnowCap's pantry customers are on fixed incomes, and either elderly or disabled. Over the years, the nonprofit organization has served more than 1.4 million people.

Of course, many "elves" work together to pull off the extensive Fill-A-Bag effort. In addition to Gresham Ford, Riverview Community Bank and Grocery Outlet, sponsors include Landmark Tax & Investment Services, US World Class Taekwondo, Gresham Breakfast Lions Club, Balance Health & Injury Clinic, Rotary International, Pathway Church, The city of Gresham, Stamp Connection and The Outlook.

Help fill the shelves

Many local businesses including Riverview Community Bank, Gresham Ford and Biscuits Cafe will have bins to collect non-perishable food for local families in need.

Here are some events that create a fun way to give to SnowCap.

Click to "like" Fill-A-Bag's Facebook page to learn about events that will be added as the campaign gets underway.

Drive 4 UR Community

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3

Pop into Gresham Ford at 1999 E. Powell Blvd. and test drive one of their shiny, new Fords, and the car dealership will donate $20 to SnowCap.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA  - Donate $5 to Fill-A-Bag on Saturday, Nov. 11, and Dill's Coffee Stop will give customers a yummy pumpkin doughnut. Thank Dill's owner Dillon Turner. Dill's Coffee Stop

Saturday, Nov. 11

For every $5 donation to SnowCap, Dill's will give you one of their tasty pumpkin donuts and a chance to win a turkey in their Turkey Toss game. Visit them at 2155 N.E. Division St.

Yummm, cinnamon rolls

8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 14

Biscuits Cafe, 1905 N.E. Division St., will donate all the proceeds from the sale of its fresh-baked cinnamon rolls to the Fill-A-Bag effort.

Dozer Dave

Thursday, Nov. 16

Dave Turin, from Discovery Channel's hit show "Gold Rush," will show off his new truck for his upcoming adventures. See the truck at Gresham Ford, 1999 E. Powell Blvd. Bring some food and help fill a barrel for SnowCap. Check the Fill-A-Bag Facebook page for details.

Visit Swine, help hungry dine

5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21

Swine Dining, 2067 N.E. Burnside Road, will donate 15 percent of their sales during these hours to SnowCap.

Spirit of Christmas

5-6:30 Saturday, Nov. 25

The city's tree lighting rings in the holiday season in Gresham with music, photos with Santa and refreshments. Fill-A-Bag will have a van at the party to take people's donations of money or groceries. Gresham Center for the Arts Plaza, 401 N.E. Second St.

Celebrity Cashiers

5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12

Grocery Outlet, 2925 N.W. Division St., will host some costumed, celebrity cashiers, and Santa will make an appearance. A percentage of sales rung up by the VIP cashiers will be donated to Fill-A-Bag.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA  - David Ligatich, owner of Biscuits Cafe, spreads the delicious glaze on a cinnamon bun. Buy a bun and help support SnowCap's biggest food drive of the year. McDonald's

5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13

McDonalds, 2231 N. E. 181st Ave., will donate a percentage of sales during this time to the cause.

Who wants candy?

4-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14

Who doesn't enjoy an ice cream or some Christmas candy? Downtown's sweet spot, iCandy, will donate a percentage of sales to the SnowCap food drive during these hours. Visit at 312 N. Main Ave., where great holiday gifts are ready to go.

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