Recently widowed and bringing up her 11-year-old grandson, Darlene Shafer is on a tight budget. To make ends meet, Shafer, 66, is taking part in Placentia’s SHARE program, which helps people of modest means buy groceries.
“It doubles your money. You get twice as much than if you bought it at the grocery store,” she said.
Shafer gives something in return: She volunteers to help children with their homework at a program at Placentia Presbyterian Church.
“It’s getting me out of the house and interacting with children,” Shafer said. “People need to help each other, and there are a lot of ways we can help.”
SHARE--Self-Help And Resource Exchange program--opened this month and offers foods valued at up to $35 to anyone with $15 to pay. In exchange, recipients agree to give two hours of community service each month.
Betty Escobosa, director of Placentia’s Human Services Department, said the city started the program to serve families and individuals, seniors and younger people--"basically people who need to save on their grocery bill.”
The monthly distributions contain as much as 10 pounds of meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, and staples such as rice, pasta and cereal--"a well-rounded package that takes nutrition into consideration,” Escobosa said.
A package with no meat and extra fruits and vegetables and specialty packages, such as holiday foods and baking goods, are also available.
SHARE was founded in 1983 in San Diego by the St. Vincent de Paul Society. An estimated 25,000 families across Southern California, including Orange County, now participate in the program.
Placentia residents pick up their food at the East Anaheim Christian Church in Anaheim, which has offered the SHARE program for two years. Several other Orange County cities, including Cypress, La Habra, Santa Ana and Capistrano Beach, also offer the program. Advance registration is mandatory for the monthly distribution, Escobosa said.
For Placentia’s program, call (714) 630-3871. For information on programs in other Orange County cities, call (800) 773-SHARE.