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Family Kitchen inspires runner to 50-mile fundraising race goal

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BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- On Sunday, Oct. 4, local chef David Kirchner will complete the longest run of his life. The self-titled professionally timed 50-mile solo run, “50@50 Family Kitchen Challenge,” will start at Elk Lake in the early-morning hours and end at Family Kitchen in Bend.

Kirchner came to Family Kitchen - Bend’s community free meal program since 1986 - as a volunteer, and when COVID-19 hit and the kitchen was in a bind for staff, his furlough from the restaurant industry made him available to jump in and help out in an even bigger way.

“David came in at a time when I was having to fill in for two staff members who were unable to be on site. Serving meals seven days a week was taking its toll. His helpful attitude, strong work ethic, restaurant experience and heart for our diners were just the combination we needed to get through a rough couple of months,” said Donna Burklo, Family Kitchen’s program director.

Burklo was not initially aware that Kirchner had recently embarked on a new running regimen meant to challenge him physically and mentally. His time at Family Kitchen gave him the added motivation he needed and he decided to dedicate his run to fundraising for the organization.

“It was very meaningful for me to help the Family Kitchen continue meal service operations without interruption during the shut down, serving free meals to anyone in the community in need, seven days a week as they always do,” said Kirchner.

The challenge for Kirchner is clear. Fifty miles is a long run that few would attempt, especially if they, like Kirchner, only began running just two short years ago.

The challenge he is putting to the community is to “donate to Family Kitchen $1.00 per mile, that’s a $50 donation to a great local organization that contributes to some of the basic food and nutrition needs of a wide variety of people. On a tighter budget? Then jump in with a $0.50 cent per mile donation, or simply donate what you wish. Large or small, any contribution will be greatly appreciated.”

A finish line celebration is planned for the Family Kitchen parking lot in the late afternoon on October 4th.

Donations can be made online at or by check made out to Family Kitchen and mailed to 469 NW Wall Street, Bend 97703 (be sure to dedicate your contribution to “David’s Run”).

For more information about Kirchner’s story and to follow his training progress, visit

For more information about Family Kitchen, visit

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