Sybaris

Matt Bennett, chef and owner at Sybaris, checks on beets and pumpkins grilling in front of the restaurant in preparation for a benefit for Fish of Albany's "Snacks for Packs" program held on January 28.

Sybaris’ fundraiser dinner for Fish of Albany on Jan. 28 brought in $45,000, which will be turned into $90,000 of food thanks to a matching donation from OFD Foods, said Matt Bennett, owner of the downtown Albany restaurant.

“It’s crazy,” Bennett added. “This is an awesome little town is all that says. It’s a neat thing to be a part of.”

More donations still could come in, though the fundraiser is essentially done, Bennett said.

The products from OFD Foods, formerly known as Oregon Freeze Dry, will go toward Fish’s “Snacks for Packs” program, where items are discretely given to local students in need.

Most fundraiser dinners at Sybaris max out at $5,000. But thanks to the match from OFD, donations were pouring in even before the six-course meal was held.

Sybaris staff, the new owners of First Burger and other residents volunteered to help prepare the dinner and serve guests.

Fish’s snack program began in 2012. The nonprofit service organization started providing bags of small, nonperishable snack food items weekly for 20 children at three Albany schools.

As of this year, the program has grown to 435 packs at 16 schools, once a week for 38 weeks, said Holly Ryan, executive director of Fish.

The fundraiser was “amazing,” Ryan said. “It’s beyond bigger than I anticipated. I’m kind of speechless. It’s hard to fathom that much food.”

The OFD products won’t necessarily be snacks, but possibly could include more filling meals that can be prepared at home, Ryan said.

Ryan thanked those who volunteered and contributed to the event, as well as OFD for its match.

“It will go a long way for feeding kids for a long time,” she added.

Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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