Things I've Learned | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Things I've Learned

Meet Ranae Staley,
Executive Director, The Giving Plate

Recently, The Giving Plate, a local non-profit that runs a food pantry in Bend for those in need, earned a $15,000 award reserved for the organization that raised the most funds as part of the 2021 Central Oregon Gives campaign. The organization raised more than $259,000!

At the helm is Ranae Staley, Executive Director.  She has been with The Giving Plate since her parents, Gary and Debi Kelso, founded the organization in 2010. Ranae has lived in Bend for 28 years, graduated from Bend High in 1997 and has been married to her husband, Mat, for 17 years. She has three children: Naomi, 14 years old, Isaac 10, and Rebekah, 8 and one spoiled fur baby, Finn. 

Things I've Learned
Meredith J Photography

What is a special moment in your parenting life that you'll never forget?

Having had a C-section for each of my babies’ births, I enjoyed extended stays in the hospital. Those first days with my babies will always be something special I carry in my heart. Meeting them for the first time and having an overwhelming wave of love overtake me, staring at their faces and soaking in the details…those are moments I will cherish forever.

What adjectives come to mind when you think about raising kids in 2022?

Adaptable—staying open to change is essential to keeping sanity while lovingly guiding our kids through this new landscape.

If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of parenting advice as you embarked on that journey, what would it be?

Don’t compare your journey to other parents’ journeys. Your story is unique, and you will always do your best for your family.  Your love for your kids will guide you.  Don’t feel pressured to keep up with other parents or have your kids keep up.

 What was the best parenting decision you ever made?

This is a tough one, but I would say that right now, I am really glad that my kids don’t have phones. There is plenty enough vying for their attention. I know they will need them one day, but for today, I am glad they don’t have them.

What do you think the world needs more of now?

Connection. We have lost the gift of truly knowing how to connect with people. We, as humans, were created for connection and not connection that comes through a screen. People are longing to be known and seen, but we are so busy “connecting” via technology that we are losing the ability to relate in-person. This worries me for our children and their children.

What do you believe about yourself that helped you become successful and deal with hard times?

I didn’t come into my position with special degrees or titles behind my name, and at times I felt unqualified. My passion for the work I do, and my deep-rooted faith were key to navigating trying times. My work isn’t just a job for me. Advocating for food-insecure individuals is a passion, and when you are passionate, you are willing to learn and grow even when it is hard.  People love sharing their journeys, and I have made some incredible friends/mentors from pursuing these kinds of friendships.

How do you define success in your life?

I feel the most fulfilled and successful when I get to talk to the people that have been impacted by The Giving Plate and hear from them how much this organization has helped them in some of their darkest times. Their stories inspire me and light a fire inside me to continue on while finding better and more creative ways to show up in their times of need. 

How will your children change the world one day?

My biggest hope for my children as they grow is that they will find their own passions. And that in doing that, they won’t just chase a paycheck but will find ways to impact lives around them. I hope that they will always remember the value of others and stay humble as they pursue their passion.


Darris Hurst

Darris is an award winning graphic designer, professional photographer and video production specialist. If he’s not in front of his computer, then you will find him taking in a game somewhere, working in the garden, adventuring with his family or playing a round at the local disc golf course.
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