Every Good Deed Deserves Another
February 24th, 2012 - By Therese Madden
More than an axiom, this philosophy is the foundation of the SHARE Food Program of PA. Sure, doing good feels nice but it doesn't hurt to be rewarded as well! Find out how a few hours of community service can be cashed in for food.
People are always looking for ways to save money on groceries. There's cutting coupons, buying day-olds, shopping in the bulk section. One Philadelphia based program has a slightly different way to save, "do a good deed and get a great food package for about 40% less than they would at the local grocery store." Steveanna Wynn is the Executive Director of the SHARE Program. Here's what constitutes a good deed, "it's literally anything that you do that you are not paid to do that makes your community better. So, it can be anything as simple as cleaning your block. It can be as large as creating a summer camp. Whatever you do, that you are not paid to do. It can be volunteering here to pack the food."
There are plenty of people in this large frigid warehouse doing just that. Packing up boxes of food. Yolanda Martin is packing oranges, she lives in a North Philadelphia neighborhood not far from the warehouse. Martin is currently unemployed and found SHARE through a program of the Department of Public Welfare. She says the food she brings home makes a big difference. “My brother, he is a shut in and he's mentally ill. So, I usually get boxes for him and the boxes are at a good low cost and the food is nice and fresh. It's good and they give you fruits and vegetables in the boxes." Martin says her 13-year-old son is really into the fruit. "A lot of families can't afford fruit, cause I know when I take fruit to the house they tear up the oranges, it's gone just like that. The fresh fruit and vegetables a lot of families can't afford it and that's where SHARE comes in because of the low cost, it helps out a lot."
35%-45% of the people who buy food through SHARE receive SNAP benefits, the program formally known as food stamps. But customers with any level of income can and do order food through SHARE. After all the larger the order, the better deal they get from the vendors. Plus, as Wynne says, there's always room for more good deeds in the world. “So, it's really about saying that if as a community, if we all come together, and we all volunteer, and we all order food, we can all eat healthy and we can all eat affordably."
The SHARE warehouse sees about 2000 volunteers a month. Many donate their "good deed credit" back to others who need the discounted groceries more.