Share Craig day registration Wednesday
August 4, 2003
Wait a couple of more days and a good deal on food may go stale.
Share Craig, a food distribution effort fueled largely by local volunteers, aims to help residents stretch their food dollars.
Area residents from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday can sign up and pay for food that will be delivered Aug. 23.
The program, which is often misunderstood to cater to those on tight income restrictions, can be advantageous to all walks of life, said Karen Gibson, a coordinator for the event.
“It’s very much a stone soup story, except we don’t have to trick people,” said Gibson of the proverbial story.
According to the tale, one villager feeds a town of hungry people by starting a pot of soup with only stones. After everyone pitches in a few ingredients, there’s enough soup to feed the entire town.
Similar to the story, Share Craig is not a handout.
“If you eat food, you qualify,” said Alvina Seick, a volunteer who is in her third year with the program.
“This does a lot of good for people,” she said. “You can get better produce than you get in the stores on average.”
Packages of food are delivered according to customers’ orders. In general, prices for meats, veggies, and wide assortment of fruit are about 50 percent off normal market prices. Packages of food range from $10 to feed a single person or small family to $20 for pounds of meat, fish, poultry and an assortment of produce.
Celebrating its fifth year, Share Craig attracts an average of 40 families each month, Gibson said, as some participants fall away and others join. Some travel from Oak Creek, Hayden, Maybell and even Baggs, Wyo., seeking the program, she said.
Participants are encouraged to volunteer two hours a month in some fashion but that guideline may be interpreted loosely, said volunteer Wayne Seick.
“That could mean taking your neighbor to the hospital or watching your neighbors’ kids,” he said.
And residents of Sunset Meadows aren’t required to report volunteer hours because, “they’ve already done their years of volunteer work,” Seick said.
Speaking of volunteering, Share Craig wouldn’t be successful if it weren’t for the steady stream of volunteers who donate time and effort each month, Gibson said.
With about 25 hours invested each month, the Seicks have taken a month off only once in three years. Others volunteer to drive the goods from Grand Junction, leaving Craig sometimes at 2 a.m. to pick up and haul food back to town.
Those volunteers are reimbursed for gas but take on the costs of wear and tear on their vehicles.
“It can be quite a chore but we seem to have committed volunteers,” Gibson said. “Every time we have a need, somebody always comes forward.”
Though the success of Share Craig is measured by the heaps of volunteerism it takes to pull off the program each month and the individuals who take advantage of getting quality food at discount prices, some wonder why the program isn’t used by a wider swath of the local population.
The Seicks said, though they are aware of people who might benefit from Share Craig, getting more residents into program requires a little initiative.
“I agree we’re not hitting enough people,” Wayne Seick said. “I think one of the big drawbacks is people think it’s a government program.”
Share Craig is organized through Catholic Charities and Share Colorado, which receives reduced prices on food by buying in bulk. The goods are then shipped from Denver to Grand Junction where local volunteers pick it up once a month.
Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted for Share Craig registration.
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or by email at email@example.com.