Karen Gibson, overall site coordinator for SHARE Craig, looks over a display board of newspaper clippings and fliers from the program’s 12-year tenure Monday at her home. SHARE Craig has disbanded following the bankruptcy of the organization that provided food for the program. Gibson said she’ll miss the connection with volunteers the most.

Photo by Michelle Balleck

Karen Gibson, overall site coordinator for SHARE Craig, looks over a display board of newspaper clippings and fliers from the program’s 12-year tenure Monday at her home. SHARE Craig has disbanded following the bankruptcy of the organization that provided food for the program. Gibson said she’ll miss the connection with volunteers the most.

SHARE Craig volunteers reflect on experiences in light of program’s end

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If you go

What: Celebration of Life for SHARE Craig

When: 5 p.m. Friday

Where: The Gibson home, 1509 Oak St.

— For more information, call Karen Gibson at 824-7939.

From humble beginnings 12 years ago, the SHARE program in Craig had grown to supplying dozens, even hundreds, of residents with discounted food each month.

But, no longer. SHARE Craig is closing up shop.

“I was really sad to see it close,” longtime volunteer Diane Grubb said. “I was really disappointed that the program is disbanded.”

SHARE, which stands for Self-help and Resource Exchange, offered discounted food packages for residents of all income levels.

“This is for people who wanted to save money with their food budgets,” said Karen Gibson, SHARE Craig’s overall site coordinator.

The program had its first distribution in Craig in July 1998, with a total of 13 orders. Since then, the program had grown to include as many as 200 orders or more during holiday seasons.

The program was supplied by Food Share America, a program that Gibson learned on the July 15 evening news had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The organization was set to make a food delivery in Craig just two days later.

Gibson said she was surprised to hear of the program’s closing, and knew that meant the end for Craig’s program, in addition to Meeker and Oak Creek’s SHARE programs and many others across Colorado and other states.

“We need to recognize this is enough,” said Gibson, noting that there are no other resources of which she’s aware that offer discounted foods as Food Share America did.

She also noted that the group had seen declining participation this year and would have evaluated its future soon regardless of Food Share America’s situation.

“By the end of this year, I think we would have really looked closely” at whether or not to continue, Gibson said.

Still, SHARE Craig calling it quits is a bittersweet relief, Gibson said.

Sure, Gibson said she’ll have more time to dedicate to other projects and volunteer opportunities. But, having “that monthly connection” to close friendships she’s developed in the program’s tenure will be lost.

“That has been the joy of it — the people,” Gibson said. “That’s been the biggest surprise.

“You think you’re going to help people with their food budgets. It turns out you end up getting that blessing because of all the people on the journey.”

One of those people was Grubb, who, since the inception of the program, provided meals each month for SHARE volunteers distributing food packages to residents.

Grubb said she regrets the program closing and that same connection Gibson spoke of.

“I feel really sad. I really do,” Grubb said. “Now it’s not the same because it’s not the same group of us that’s been together for 12 years.”

To reminisce about those friendships and gather for one final time, Gibson has organized a Celebration of Life for SHARE Craig barbecue at 5 p.m. Friday at her home, 1509 Oak St.

Gibson invites all those involved with SHARE to attend.

“The people gave the SHARE program life,” Gibson said. “And that’s what we’re going to celebrate — those memories.”

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