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 2018.

Between 2010 to date, The Giving Plate (TGP) has distributed over 3.4 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 provided over 7,200 food bags of nutrient-dense food to children in 2018, which is seperate from their families monthly food box

  • In the 2018/2019 school year, TGP adopted the Backpacks for Bend program that provides 450 kids in 28 Bend / La Pine schools with food for the weekend. In the 2018/2019 school year they will provide 16,200 weekend bags of food. This is the only program of its kind in the Bend / LaPine school district.

  • TGP is the only food bank in Bend open on Saturdays.

  • Between our three hunger-relief programs, children 18 and under make up 62% of individuals served.

  • Under 10% of our guests are homeless, which means the majority are families just trying to make ends meet.

  • TGP provides a welcoming environment so that each guest that visits feels valued, and doesn't encounter the clinical stigma that is connected to many food bank experiences.

  • TGP was founded by a family right out of Central Oregon. We are passionate about the community we live in and want to make a difference in the lives of those we live next door to.


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




Chairman of the Board

dawn.cofer@fib.com | 541.330.7555

gary kelso

Co-Founder, Vice Chairman

seeker11258@yahoo.com | 541.4103621



Board Director

gljj1947@gmail.com | 541.213.6044


Melissa Ford

Secretary & Backpacks for Bend Program Manager

ford.melissa1981@yahoo.com | 530.524.0442


Justin VanPatten

Board Director

creatingassurance@gmail.com | 541.639.2104


Executive Team



Co-Founder & Kid’s Korner Manager

djraney@ymail.com | 541-410-3086


Executive Director

thegivingplateinc@gmail.com | 541-771-1194

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janae mcmaster

Warehouse Assistant

janaemcmaster@outlook.com | 541.420.9543

Amy hendricks

Operations Assistant

feedingcentraloregon@gmail.com | 971.412.1431