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New Program to Aid our Neighbors in Corvallis

February 4, 2011

By Scott Alexander
Willamette Living Magazine

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Most residents of Corvallis think nothing of sitting down to a nice meal.

Well, they think of it: how nice all the local produce is, how wonderful our gourmet restaurants are, how lucky we are to be right next to one of the greatest crab fisheries in the world. But for some, sitting down to a nice meal is a little tough to do because making ends meet is a daily struggle.

Now those who need a little help can breath easier thanks to Linn-Benton Food Share, The South Corvallis Food Bank, Market of Choice, and the people of Corvallis.
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Market of Choice announced this week that their new Corvallis store will begin to provide assistance to local food providers in two ways.

First, there is a coupon program in which shoppers can select at checkout either a $1, $5 or $10 coupon to have their checker scan, and add to the total. That amount is then donated directly to the Linn-Benton Food Share.

Since 1996, Market of Choice customers have contributed $819,000 (76%) of the more than $1 million raised through the Scan Program to benefit Food for Lane County recipients. Currently, Market of Choice is the only Corvallis grocery store to participate in the program.

In just the first week of the program, the Corvallis store will raise close to a thousand dollars. The program has been very well implemented in true Market of Choice style, with an attractive display right at the checkout counter (you can't miss it -- look for the cute kid) and your receipt is printed with donation information right on it, to become your tax record.

The second way in which Market of Choice is helping local food providers is by donating much of the food in the store that is close to it's "pull date." Still perfectly good (and being from Market of Choice… better than good in many cases) the food is loaded into the Linn-Benton food share truck (Fresh Alliance) and delivered to food provider's sites for same-day meals or pick up.

The LInn-Benton Food Share serves 75 local agencies from homeless shelters to soup kitchens to food banks. In January alone they delivered 5500 pounds of food to local families. The organization is greatly benefitted by its volunteer count of 3,300 generous local neighbors. The huge pool of volunteers help keep the overhead to a low .06 percent, so all of your donated dollar goes to help neighbors in need. The LInn-Benton Food Share serves an area of 2700 square miles and serves about 700 kids per month. In South Corvallis alone, the program aids in feeding about 200 families per month, which is about 800 people in total.

The Market of Choice scanning program is the first of its kind in Linn-Benton, and will help provide about 15 pounds of food per dollar donated. That's about 2700 meals per month in Corvallis alone. We spoke with Rick Wright, Market of Choice CEO and were impressed with his humble attitude and his desire to give back to the community. Market of Choice is among Oregon's top business, yet Rick is among Oregon's down-to-earth, nice guys.

Market of Choice is the only market in the local area with this kind of program in place. A Willamette Living favorite since they opened their doors a few months ago, now we like them even more for all the good they will do here in our local community. So when you're there, try the Beer and Cheese soup, and don't forget to share.

The Corvallis Market of Choice is located at the corner of Circle and 9th in Corvallis.