Share Craig program survives despite lack of volunteers

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A popular community program may be facing its last days, unless the basic standard on which it was founded can save its existence.

The SHARE Craig program offers families, who register by filling out a simple form, the opportunity to purchase food through the program at a discounted price.

"Unfortunately, things aren't looking good for us right now," SHARE coordinator Karen Gibson said. "We are in real need of some community support right now if we want to keep the program going. It has been difficult for us trying to keep reliable drivers and volunteers who can continue to help us in the program."

Program drivers pick the food up in Grand Junction and bring it to Craig the day it's distributed. Other volunteers help with sign ups or food distribution.

Program volunteers met last week to determine whether the program had a future. They intended to shut the program down, but decided to keep trying.

The program is open to anyone, as long as they fill out a form which lists their name, address and phone number. The SHARE Craig program is in its third year of existence, its 12th statewide, but wasn't originally formed to help just anyone.

"It was originally started to help those on fixed incomes to get their food at a discounted price," Gibson said. "The elderly, the disabled and those who are on a fixed income were the ones that initially benefited from the program, but that has changed over the course of time."

Now, program coordinators only ask that participants volunteer some of their free time to helping others in the community. This participation can come in the form of coaching Little League, leading Girl Scouts or working with the elderly. According to Gibson, the possibilities are endless.

To qualify for a SHARE food package, a person must volunteer for at least an hour.

"There are any number of ways that people can help out in the community, and when they come in, we have a sheet that they can fill out to log the number of hours that they have spent volunteering," she said. "Not only does this help us to provide the community with a good service, but it helps the community help itself as well.

"The program is open to anyone interested in participating, from the needy to millionaires. It is something that everyone can benefit from," Gibson said.

Two different programs are offered through SHARE, the regular program and the special program.

The regular program allows members to receive $32 worth of food for $16, while the special program allows participants to receive $40 of food for $20.

"We've been doing it every month now for three years," Gibson said. "Hopefully, we can find some people who are interested in helping us to continue the program, because it really is something that is too special to be discontinued."

For more information about the SHARE program or to donate your time, contact Karen Gibson at 824-7939.

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