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Remodel sparks idea to donate money to local nonprofit agencies, continuing services in Sandy

POST PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - Sandy Community Action Center, Sandy Helping Hands and AntFarm were the three nonprofit organizations that each received a donation of $1,000 from Fred Meyer.Representatives from three different nonprofit organizations walked away from the Sandy Fred Meyer with a $1,000 novelty prize check on Aug. 23.

The Fred Meyer corporation ran a two-week Facebook poll for community members to vote on a nonprofit organization that significantly served the community. The poll, which offered four choices, ended Aug. 11. Initially, the top two were received the $1,000 donation, but the second-place winners were about five votes apart, so Fred Meyer awarded money to three groups.

AntFarm, the Sandy Community Action Center and Sandy Helping Hands were the donation winners.

"We know that we've got a great community," said Jeffery Temple, director of corporate affairs at Fred Meyer. "We don't just want to be in the community, we want to be a part of the community."

Nunpa, executive director at AntFarm — which provides youth and family services — knows exactly what the money will go toward.

"The reality is that we employed 55 kids this summer in all kinds of programs, so we have a lot of food and incentive issues that (have to) get paid for, so this is perfect. (The money) is going to help us finish the summer in a good way," Nunpa said. "I'm just excited the community is so supportive."

In conjunction with the donation awards, crowds of workers and community members gathered to watch the ribbon cutting that marked the grand opening of POST PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - Jeffery Temple, director of corporate affairs at Fred Meyer, gave a speech before the grand opening of a remodeled Fred Meyer. Fred Meyer's remodel at 9 a.m., Aug. 30, outside of the storefront at 16625 S.E. 362nd Drive, Sandy.

Five months ago, the Fred Meyer that opened up in 2004 underwent its first remodel.

Aisles were expanded as was the natural foods section, with 40 percent more natural foods, and now there is a click-list service from which shoppers can order groceries online to pick up later.

While the community dealt with construction, concrete dust and noise, the Fred Meyer corporation made a point of giving back to the people of Sandy.

"They do this kind of thing when there are remodels, basically because the town suffers while we are dealing with this," said Juli Hager, auditor and volunteer representative for the Sandy store. "So they thank them, and this is what they did, they picked these people."

Machel Heldstab, founder of Sandy Helping Hands — a nonprofit charity targeting struggling working families and seniors — is honored to know the community backs them.

"It was a complete surprise (and) I'm just glad to represent our town," Heldstab said. "It just shows the community how much of a difference they make."

POST PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - A crowd gathered in the front of Fred Meyer while Roger Wecker, who has been a Fred Meyer employee for 43 years, cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the remodel.She said the money will go back into the community and will help with their emergency assist fund "to help families in need get through the winter or unexpected emergencies that come up," she said.

Kirsten Pitzer, director of the Sandy Community Action Center, a hunger relief agency, said they plan to use the money to purchase more food for their food boxes and pantry.

"I shop here a lot so it's nice to have the store give back locally," Pitzer said.

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