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‘Be a Sweetheart, Feed the Hungry’

By Christina Call (

Article Published: Feb. 6 | Modified: Feb. 10
‘Be a Sweetheart, Feed the Hungry’

Mast General Store has a wide variety of candy that can be purchased on Feb. 8 and 9 to help raise money for the Hunger and Health Coalition.

Photo submitted

Mast General Store is partnering with the Hunger and Health Coalition Feb. 8 and 9 for a Valentine’s Day fundraiser.

The annual “Be a Sweetheart, Feed the Hungry” event matches each pound of candy purchased with a $1 donation to help ensure that those in the community needing a good meal will not go hungry.

“With Valentine’s Day coming soon, many people in the High Country will be thinking about their loved ones and trying to decide what gift will convey their feelings in a tangible way,” said Sheri Moretz, Mast General’s community relations manager. “Candy is one of the holiday’s traditional gifts, and on ‘Be a Sweetheart’ weekend, it can show others that you care, too.”

Mast General Store started this event in 2004 to help raise money for those in need.

“When we started this event, we were thinking about how donations seem to go down after the holidays, yet people are still in need of food and the basic necessities of life,” Moretz said. “This event is a great way to think of your sweetheart or to get your own favorite candy and do something nice for someone else in the community. A little can do a lot.”

Hunger is a major issue within the High Country community. In the High Country, more than 25,000 people were fed in 2013, which represents a 15-percent increase over 2012.

Fred Martin, president of 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.”

Each dollar donated to the coalition provides $7 in retail food value. A contribution of $10 will feed a family of four for an entire week, according to Moretz.

“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 month, the Hunger and Health Coalition provides food to an average of 900 families. One in every three people receiving food is a child younger than 18 years of age, according to the coalition.

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.

Mast General Store has several locations in Boone and Valle Crucis. For more information about the “Be a Sweetheart, Feed the Hungry” fundraiser, visit

For more information about the Hunger and Health Coalition, visit

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