Unleash the Vision Feeds Bellies & Hearts of Central Oregon

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The second annual Unleash the Vision benefit event is set to entertain the discerning tastes of all on two and four legs. Created as a fundraiser for non-profit Feedin’ the People (FTP), the August 11 event at Riverbend Park will raise money to provide healthy nutritious food for children and families in times of need.

Unleash the Vision has grown since the first year in an asphalt parking lot. “It was the middle of August and the black asphalt was not good on paws,” commented FTP President Steven Farrell. The event  moves to Riverbend park where activities will take advantage of not only the grassy lawn, but the Deschutes River.

“We are able to add all the elements we wanted, the Bend Agility Action Dogs will be performing at the top of every hour, and the bottom half of every hour we will have Boondock Saints Fly-ball racing dogs. Dog owners will be shown how to take their dogs on stand-up-paddle boards, and we have increased the number of vendors from about 22 last year to 40 this year.”

Last year’s benefit netted about $3,000 and Farrell is hoping to reach $5,000 through the Doggy Poker Walk, beer sales and sponsorships. “Our sponsors are incredible,” commented Farrell. “Pets Mart was eager to get involved this year, the Bomb Squad came on board as well. Bend Radio Group wanted to be the lead media sponsor, and will be doing two live feeds on the air during the day;10 Barrel has donated kegs of beer, their beer truck with taps and the big beer tent.”

“We could not have put on this big of an event without help from Brenda Grisby,” said Farrell. Grisby is owner of Moonlight BPO and Pet Paradise, Central Oregon’s luxury pet resort. Providing all the printing needs for the event, a personal assistant for Farrell, major sponsorship and other resources, she has provided a lot of the passion behind the scenes.

“It’s been really exciting watch FTP grow from a fledgling non-profit to what we have become today,” commented Jeff Martin, FTP’s marketing director. “Unleash the Vision will truly be one of Bend’s best events. As a friend once put it, this is the dogapalooza of Bend.”

The money Feedin’ the People raises goes towards providing food for Central Oregon families in or at poverty level. With a desire to fill the greater needs of the community, FTP aims to not only provide basic sustenance, but provide fellowship. “Through this sharing of time, space and bread, we strive to give hope to those who have experienced catastrophic devastation, and make those burdens a bit more bearable” states the non-profit’s  mission.

FTP works with Neighbor Impact, Family Access Network and DHS to identify and provide meals to local families. During the holidays, hundreds of people are given take-home Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners as well as bags of fresh produce.

2011 marked the first year FTP has grown their own produce for distribution. Partnering with Doug and Heidi Moir at Redtail Farm, the donated land produced 1,500lbs of carrots, greenbeans, radishes and more. The land is worked by both Redtail, FTP board members and a bank of volunteers coordinated by Volunteer Connect.

“This year we really expanded the farm project,” said Farrell. “We planted many more vegtables, and are working to produce 10,000lbs of food…I spend a lot of time tilling and working, but we couldn’t do it without the volunteers and Redtail Farm.” Many of the volunteers come from the kahoot.org program; a bartering system where volunteer work is exchanged for receiving goods and services at a discount. All together the food helps to feed thousands in the community each month.

“There is always work to be done on the farm!”

Unleash the Vision, Saturday August 11th at Riverbend Park from 10am- 6pm. www.unleashthevision.org.

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