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From The Central Oregonian (Prineville, OR):

Supermarket Sweep: Four charity groups shop Grocery Outlet for a good cause
By AnneMarie Knepper

Monday afternoon, Grocery Outlet looked more like a taping of Supermarket Sweep as four charity organizations took to the aisles in a friendly competition.

The idea came to Grocery Outlet owners Carl and Sharon Shaver after Governor Ted Kulongoski's widely publicized trip to the store - purchasing a week's worth of groceries for himself and the first lady with the amount of money in food stamps a two-person household in Oregon receives.

"We saw printed what the governor was able to purchase," Carl Shaver said. "We knew how far that could go here."

According to the Associated Press, Kulongoski spent $20.97 (his half of the $42) on bananas, milk, yogurt, granola, a chicken, bread, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and other items.

Local organizations, including the soup and meal kitchen The Oasis, Ashley Manor Care Center, St. Vincent de Paul, and the Soroptimist Senior Center had 30 minutes to fill decorated carts with grocery items for carefully-planned meals. All four organizations carried lists and many pre-shopped the store to get the lay of the land.

"I shop here," said St. Vincent de Paul volunteer Sue McReynolds. "So I know right where to find all the stuff. I can't find anywhere cheaper."

McReynolds and her partner, St. Vincent de Paul volunteer Sammi Jo Pedersen, came close to the $42 limit with a total grocery bill of $41.68. It was Ron and Marlene Davis of The Oasis who came closest to the limit with items totaling $41.90. The four carts of groceries were all examined by Grocery Outlet employee and nutritionist Elizabeth Johnson.

After explaining the merits and drawbacks to each group's selection, Johnson deemed St. Vincent de Paul the winner, considering how close they came to the $42 limit and their mix of healthful food options. St. Vincent de Paul picked brown eggs, apples, oatmeal, chicken thighs, tuna and vegetables, among other items.

The winner was presented with a $100 gift card to be spent at Grocery Outlet. All organizations were told to keep their carts' contents free of charge. Ashley Manor chose to donate their cart to St. Vincent de Paul.

"We all work together," said Karole Stockton, who represented the Soroptimist Senior Center with fellow Soroptimist Neva McPherson. Stockton explained each group refers clients to other groups' services whenever possible.

"It's a good bunch of folks and we enjoy working with them," Carl Shaver said of the organizations. "We believe in what they are doing. We support them and they support us."

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