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Hundreds help fight hunger

Silent auction items at the fighting hunger benefit included wine, large stuffed animals, artwork, gift certificates and much more. Photo by Ashley Bergen.

More than 200 people came out to Thumper Pond Resort on Jan. 29 to celebrate another year of fighting hunger in Otter Tail County.

Friends of Friends Fighting Hunger in Otter Tail County, an organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness, held its third annual fundraiser last weekend bringing in more than $70,000.

A silent and live auction were held with large items including vacation packages, autographed Twins and North Dakota State University memorabilia and much more. The night ended with a dance featuring The Shakers.

About 200 people came to the celebration, with one party coming from Kansas just for the event. Hundreds of sponsors also came together for the cause, with businesses from all over the country donating items for the auction including national corporations Frito Lay, Hershey and Mars. The majority of items were donated by regional companies.

Organizers were pleased with the turnout and are planning for another year of support for Otter Tail County food shelves and other programs to help curtail hunger.

"This event couldn't have happened without such overwhelming support," organizer Leif Hemstad said.

Friends of Friends is a group of friends and neighbors partnering with the United Way of Otter Tail County. It was formed in November of 2008 and works to support the seven Otter Tail County food shelves, the Otter Tail County backpack program to feed hungry children on weekends, and mobile food drops in the county.

At the event, several people opted to sponsor one or more children for a year, which costs $144 and provides a child with food every weekend.

For more information about getting involved with Friends of Friends, contact any of the core couples involved: Rob and Kathy Bope, Woody and Connie Caspers, Val and Paula Dietz, Neil and Arne Gudmestad, Leif and Kristen Hemstad, Larry and Sue Krohn, Kim Peterson, Ed and Georgia Pullen, Dave and Sue Sethre and Bernie and Pat Steeves. More information can also be found at