Local Share program gets most participants on Western Slope
In just more than a year since the Share Colorado program was introduced in Craig, participation levels have astonished program coordinators across the state. For its Thanksgiving dinner, 237 shares were sold, beating every other program on the Western Slope including Grand Junction, Durango and Vail.
“I know that sounds hard to believe,” Share site coordinator Karen Gibson said.
Gibson confirmed the number through the Grand Junction office that acts as the Western Slope coordinator and through which food is ordered.
Share Colorado was introduced to Craig in July 1998. It is subsidized through Catholic charities in the state, but has no religious prerequisites for participation. People who complete two hours of volunteer service are offered at least $30 worth of groceries for $15.
“It’s money in your pocket to do it,” Gibson said. “We like to say it’s for anyone who eats.”
The volunteer hours required are discretionary a person chooses the volunteer work whether it be for an organization or for a person in the neighborhood.
The local program usually distributes a high of 120 meals on each distribution day. The numbers have been increasing, Gibson said, because volunteers are getting the word out to people.
People are breaking the record this year with the Share Thanksgiving that provides a Thanksgiving meal. According to Gibson, several shares were purchased by churches and non-profit organizations for distribution among members or employees.
The benefit, Gibson said, is that 237 shares purchased means 474 volunteer hours were given to the community.
“The program is growing,” she said. “We’re getting the word out and helping people understand what it’s all about. It’s taken a year for people to understand.”
Distribution of shares will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Craig.
Gibson attributes success of the program to volunteers.
“Really, my core group of people that started with us in July are as enthusiastic now as they were then,” she said. “I’m just impressed on how they give of their time. They’re really a great bunch of people.”