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Originally published: 2014-02-04 16:26:41
Last modified: 2014-02-04 16:26:41

'Be a sweetheart' and help feed the hungry this Valentine's Day

The Mast General Store is partnering with the Hunger and Health Coalition Feb. 8 and 9 to fill its larder with food. 

The annual Be a Sweetheart, Feed the Hungry event matches each pound of candy purchased with a $1 donation to help those in our community needing a good meal will have access to enjoying one. 

"With Valentine's Day upon us, many people in the High Country will be thinking about their Sweethearts and loved ones and trying to decide what gift will convey their feelings in a tangible way. Candy is one of the holiday's traditional gifts, and on Be a sweetheart weekend, it can show others that you care, too," according to organizers.

Fred Martin, president of the Mast Store, said, "It is amazing what our local food banks can do with just a little. Thinking of your sweetheart and giving a gift of just one pound of candy can help purchase five pounds of food for someone in need." 

Hunger is not discriminatory and is not just an issue within the homeless community. In the High Country, more than 25,000 people were fed in 2013. That represents a 15 percent increase over 2012. "We are dependent upon support from our community," said Compton Fortuna, director of the Hunger and Health Coalition. 

"We are purchasing more and more food to keep up with the increased need, so community support is more important than ever." 

Each dollar donated to the Hunger and Health Coalition provides $7 in retail food value. Even greater, a contribution of $10 will feed a family of four for an entire week. It's proof positive that even a small donation can be turned into a lot of food for our neighbors, organizers said. 

"Like many nonprofit organizations, the Hunger and Health Coalition relies on volunteers and donations for much of its success. There are many opportunities to get involved on a personal or group level, as well as learning how you can fight hunger in your community," organizers said. For more information, visit