By Erica Bowlin / Staff Writer
Everyone enjoys the feeling of helping others, but often we’re unsure how. We become
overwhelmed with our daily routines of carpooling, working, preparing for the next day. Our good intentions become lost in a sea of procrastination. But perhaps all we need is an avenue, an organized way to help. If only there were an organization that would do all the thinking for us. Then maybe we would donate, volunteer, or just lend a helping hand to someone in need.
Such a program does exist in the Tri-County area. It is called the SHARE program. According to Steve Baltic, Southeast Kentucky Distribution Coordinator, the program offers a simple way to make a difference.
“Everyone can help out with the SHARE program,” said Baltic.
SHARE stands for Self-Help and Resource Exchange. SHARE is a not-for-profit organization that offers food boxes for $20. The boxes contain about $40 worth of good nutritious food. In addition to the twenty-dollar cost of the food boxes, the organization requires a commitment of two hours of community service.
The program helps feed over 50 families in the Tri-County area each month, and encourages people to help out in the community by volunteering.
The SHARE program is open to anyone who would like to help out. From seniors, families and churches to schools, social organizations and businesses.
“There are many different ways to help out. The two hours of community service can include activities such as taking someone to the grocery store or doctor, or even phone visits with someone who is homebound,” said Baltic, “most of us do these kinds of things all the time, we just don’t realize we are doing it.”
According to Baltic, it is very rewarding to be involved with the SHARE program.
“The best part of taking part in the program is the feeling you get on distribution day, when you realize that you are doing something positive to help others. It makes you realize that if each one of us will do our part, the impact can be great,” said Baltic.
The SHARE program has no requirements for participation other than to pay twenty dollars for a food package and to pledge two hours of community service. Churches or other groups can easily participate by agreeing to become a “host organization.”
Host organizations serve as neighborhood hubs of the SHARE program and act as a station point where participants can sign up for and pick-up food packages. Host organizations can also serve as a meeting point for community service work and volunteering. The host organizations serve as a meeting post, allowing new members to sign up, as well as distributing the food packages. A volunteer team leader is designated at each host organization location. The volunteer team leader will act as a host coordinator, overseeing the SHARE program at his or her designated site. Each volunteer team leader will have the ongoing support of the organization with training, promotional materials, forms and procedures.
“The most important requirement for becoming a host organization is just a desire to make a difference in the community,” said Baltic.
The SHARE program is in great need of support, and according to Baltic, it’s a simple way to help yourself while helping the community.
Each month the SHARE program offers a variety of foods. The food packages typically include foods such as ham, chicken breasts, fish, smoked sausage, or cocktail franks along with vegetable mix, cake, stuffing, soup, eggs, and other nutritious food choices. There are also other food packages with special prices available ranging from seven to twenty dollars. Every month similar food packages are featured, with no membership required, and there are no restrictions on how few or how many packages can be ordered.
Sign- ups for the food packages are accepted before the second Monday of the month and distribution is the 4th Saturday of each month. During the holiday months, sign-ups and distribution is moved back one week to ensure everyone can get their food before the holiday.
For more information on how to become a Host organization, contact Steve Baltic at 606-542-4293.
“We are in need of volunteers and participation on all levels, so don’t hesitate to call. We truly appreciate any help we can get,” said Baltic, and added “ I encourage agencies and churches in the Tri-County to participate in this quality food program by contacting myself or Peggy Helton at the Emergency Fund and Service, Inc, office at 606-546-4622.”