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Walla Walla Valley Wineries, Businesses raise a record-breaking $23,723.77 for local Food Bank

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
December 17, 2015                                                

WALLA WALLA, WA – The Barrel Full of Money fundraiser reached new heights this holiday season, as more than 60 Walla Walla Valley wineries, area businesses and non-profit organizations teamed up to raise a record-breaking amount of money for the Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC) Food Bank.

Barrel Full of Money is a joint effort by Alaska Airlines, Baker Boyer Bank, Columbia REA, the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center, Olive Marketplace & Café, Capps Broadcast Group, The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and its members to raise money that will be used to buy food for those in need. During a check presentation at Baker Boyer Bank in downtown Walla Walla on Thursday, December 17, the steering committee presented a check to BMAC for $23,723.77.

“The amount of money that was raised this year is almost unbelievable,” said BMAC Food Bank Director Jeff Mathias. “It’s going to buy a whole lot of food for local people in need.”

The BMAC Food Bank distributes an estimated 500,000 pounds of food through pantries in Walla Walla County every year. Since its inception in 2011, the Barrel Full of Money campaign has raised more than $65,000 in cash for the food bank, all of which has been used to purchase bulk food items and perishables.

“The Barrel Full of Money fundraiser has become crucially important to the food bank,” Mathias said. “We’re so grateful for our local wineries and businesses, who truly care about making a difference in the community.”

New to the fundraiser this year was an auction and wine reception at Corliss Estates. Wine Alliance members and partners donated large format bottles and other special experiences that were sold through a live and silent auction overseen by auctioneer Robin Leventhal, Corliss Estates provided wine for the evening, and Olive Catering served delicious appetizers. 

In addition to the auction, donation canisters were placed at wineries and other locations throughout the Walla Walla Valley at the end of October. Two full-sized wine barrels – used as donation vessels – were also set-up at Olive Marketplace & Café and the Gesa Power House Theatre. Olive Café generously donated a portion of all sales of its seasonal pumpkin cheesecake to the fundraiser.

Alaska Airlines donated two unrestricted roundtrip airline tickets to be given away as the grand prize in a raffle drawing. Second prize in the raffle was a one-night stay at Walla Walla’s Marcus Whitman Hotel and dinner for two at the Marc Restaurant. Tickets sold for $10 each, and the winners were chosen Thursday during the check presentation event.

“I’m so proud of our community for pulling together to help those in need,” said Duane Wollmuth, Executive Director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “We set the bar for the fundraiser pretty high this year – and we look forward to supporting the food bank through the Barrel Full of Money for years to come."

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The Blue Mountain Action Council is a community action partnership agency providing a wide array of services to help people meet their basic essential needs.  The BMAC food bank is the regional distribution center for the five local food pantries in Walla Walla County as well as the pantries in Columbia, Asotin, Franklin and Garfield Counties.  More information about the BMAC and its’ programs is available at www.bmacww.org or by calling 509-529-4980.

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The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance is a non-profit wine industry membership organization whose primary mission is the marketing of the Walla Walla Valley’s American Viticultural Area (AVA).  The Wine Alliance functions as the leading informational resource for consumers, media and trade interested in learning more about the Valley’s wine industry.  More information about the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and its mission can be found at www.wallawallawine.com.


MEDIA CONTACTS:
Duane Wollmuth
Executive Director, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance
duane@wallawallawine.com | (509) 526-3117 office
Heather Bradshaw
Communications & Marketing Manager, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance
heather@wallawallawine.com | (509) 526-3117 office