Our Mission

"Feeding the hungry today with compassion & hospitality."

The Giving Plate opened its doors in April 2010 through the efforts of Gary & Debra Kelso. Their Christ-centered passion was to serve the community during a poor economic time where many were struggling to make ends meet.  Initially, they thought helping 500 families have food on their table would be amazing, but within months from opening they had registered that 500th family and they began to realize the need was much bigger than they ever imagined. The community need for food continued to rise at an astounding rate, and has not let up.  At The Giving Plate we purpose to serve our guests with compassion and hospitality, and we are intentional in our efforts to remove the "clinical experience" of entering a food bank. 

 

 
The Giving Plate plans to distribute 7,000 food boxes, each containing 5 days’ worth of groceries for each child and adult who comes to our door in 2017.
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Between 2010 to date, The Giving Plate (TGP) has distributed over 2.5 million pounds of food in Central Oregon.

  • TGP is the only food bank in Oregon that has a youth-specific food bank (Kid's Korner).
  • TGP is providing over 5,000 sack lunches and tote-bags of nutrient-dense food to children a year, separate from their family's standard food box.
  • TGP is the only food bank in Central Oregon that delivers food boxes to home-bound individuals, and is open on Saturdays.
  • Children comprise 36% of all guests.
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Gary and Debi Kelso met while serving at Shepherd's House together in early 2007. Debi, who had lived in Bend for 25 years, recently retired from the school district. Gary, a former Wisconsin business owner, had completed a discipleship program at Salem's Union Gospel Mission before helping open Shepherd's House in 2005. "While serving together, our eyes were opened to the need our community had for food relief," says Debi. The two decided to do what they could to help.  After a great deal of thought and prayer, they used Debi's savings to fund The Giving Plate’s startup fees and expenses.  This was all around the time that Central Oregon experienced an unexpected economic downturn that left hundreds without jobs.  In those first months, they were often reminded of the story of the young boy who gave his five loaves of bread and two fish over to Jesus who in turn took it to feed over 5,000 individuals.  In many ways they felt like that boy by giving the little they had, and in amazement watching that expand in the hands of Jesus, to help and serve a need that was bigger than they ever realized or thought possible.  It was clear from the start that this outreach was all a part of God's timing and plan.  Gary & Debi have been committed to “rescuing” food and making it accessible to those in need ever since, and they purpose to provide that food to those in need with the same love and compassion Jesus had on the crowds that He fed with the 5 loaves and 2 fish.

 

Board Members

 

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GARY KELSO

Co-Founder, Interim Chairman of the Board

seeker11258@yahoo.com | 541.410.3621

DANIEL OLSON

Secretary of the Board

dnolsonny@msn.com | 541.728.0521

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GEORGE jOHNSON

Board Director

gljj1947@gmail.com | 541.213.6044

 

Melissa Ford

Board Director

ford.melissa1981@yahoo.com | 530.524.0442

 

Executive Team

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DEBRA RANEY KELSO

Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director

djraney@ymail.com | 541-410-3086

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RANAE STALEY

Co-Executive Director

ranaestaley@bendbroadband.com | 541-771-1194