A decade to SHARE | CraigDailyPress.com

A decade to SHARE

Participants look at organization's past, future

Bridget Manley

Sometimes, it pays to persevere.

That’s a lesson Karen Gibson, Friendship United Methodist Church co-pastor, learned 10 years ago.

In 1998, Gibson and a handful of other members of Friendship United launched SHARE Craig. The nonprofit program provides wholesale food for prices below what shoppers normally would find in grocery stores.

A decade later, SHARE, an extension of a larger food distribution network is still, well, sharing.

Gibson heard about the program while taking a community health class at Mesa State College.

“After I got out of school, I thought it would really be nice if we could have a program like that in Craig,” Gibson said.

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It took a while for that wish to become a reality.

Attempts to contact the program’s Denver and Grand Junction offices were fruitless, Gibson said.

Finally, she took the situation into her own hands.

About a year and a half after her initial attempt, she called the Denver office again. This time, she demanded an affirmative response – and got it.

“You have to get bold after a while,” she said.

The rest, she added, is history.

Eventually, other community churches got on board with the program. Now, once a month, residents can sign up to receive a variety of foods, ranging from meats to vegetables.

Residents in Sunset Meadows, a pair of senior citizen apartment complexes, also can participate in SHARE Craig.

Darby McDermott, Friendship United Methodist Church member, has been volunteering for and ordering from SHARE, off and on, for eight years.

Residents can shave up to 50 percent off their grocery bill by participating in the program, she said.

She thinks there’s a need for SHARE in Craig.

“There’s a lot of families and elderly people that are on a fixed income,” she said. By signing up for SHARE, “they’re going to know that they’re going to get quality food at a certain price every month.”

That’s not to say that SHARE Craig hasn’t seen its share of ups and downs in the past 10 years.

At one point, Gibson said, SHARE used to collect hundreds of orders.

Recently, though, that number has dwindled down to about 20.

Gibson doesn’t know for certain what has caused the decline, but she has an idea.

“Its called convenience,” she said. “People can just go into the grocery store and buy it.”

Still, in the face of an economic downturn, McDermott thinks people may start using the program more.

“I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t,” she said. “I think it’s a wise choice.”