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Hunger Programs

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Notes from the Social Justice Meeting of April 6, 2006 [1]

The Rev. Pamela A. Cahoon, Executive Director of C.R.O.S. Ministries, (Christians Reaching Out to Society), was the guest speaker on the topic of hunger. Jane Tierney wrote this document after the meeting.

Pam's opening remarks included:

Pam recommends our churches take a three-pronged approach to combating hunger:

Pam introduced the following programs as opportunities for our churches to address hunger.


General Information

This is a nationwide program to provide food to children up to age 18, while they are on summer vacation from school.

The Federal government funds the program.

Monies are channeled through the State of Florida to the counties.

Each county selects contractors to provide the food.

Summer Lunch Program feeding sites must be within 5 miles of a public school in which at least 50% of the enrolled students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program.

To qualify as a feeding site, you need:

The sites operate Monday through Friday.

The food is totally free—to the site provider and to the food recipients.

The children must eat all food at the distribution site.

Sites may choose to serve one or two meals. (The program will provide food for breakfast & lunch or lunch & a snack.)

All children qualify to receive the free food, regardless of their family income or enrollment in a private school.

Children do not have to be enrolled in the program, or to be accompanied by a parent or adult, in order to receive food. They just have to show-up at the site. They may come one day or every day.

The site provider phones in the order for the next day's food. The number of meals ordered is based on the number of children fed that day. The number of meals can increase and/or decrease throughout the program.

Discussion comments

Pam said Palm Beach County's program is contracted through the School Board and the County Commission. There were over 200 total Summer Lunch Program sites in PBC last year, and an estimated 60,000 PBC children are within walking distance of a summer lunch feeding site.

Pam said it is hard to do more than one meal if you do not offer programs for the children. (Because the meals must be eaten at the site, the children would have to go home and return for the second meal.) She noted that Vacation Bible School programs could qualify as feeding sites.

Pam said they have been able to qualify some feeding sites that were not within 5 miles of a qualifying school. For example, a site was established in Jupiter, even though the school only had 48% of students on free or reduced lunches, by including a low-income housing project in the qualification.

It was noted by the Episcopal clergy that if a parish chose to become a feeding site, all their site volunteers would have to complete the "Safeguarding God's Children" training program offered by the Diocese.

For More Information

Churches & organizations in Palm Beach County should call: Ian Oudit, C.R.O.S. Ministries Summer Lunch Program Coordinator, at (561) 833-9499.

II. SHARE Florida Food Network

General Information

Program details

There is always at least 5 pounds of meat in the Basic Food Package. The fresh produce is equivalent to, or better than, what you purchase in the grocery stores. The Thanksgiving and Christmas food packages contain an entire holiday meal. [2]

Discussion comments

For More Information on SHARE

+ Churches & organizations in Palm Beach & Martin Counties may call Ian Oudit, C.R.O.S. Ministries SHARE Coordinator, at: (561) 833-9499

+ All churches & organizations in Southeast Florida should contact:

Teresita Aguirre, Field Representative Southeast [6]

SHARE Florida Food Network

Phone (888)-282-4894 or ( 305) 386-7333

Fax (305) 386-7333


III. GLEANING (only available in Palm Beach County)

For More Information

Churches, youth groups & individuals wanting to participate in PBC gleanings should call: Ian Oudit, C.R.O.S. Ministries Gleaning Coordinator, (561) 833-9499.


Applications for food stamps may now be completed on-line. Pam suggested that our parishes could become food stamp processing sites by helping applicants to complete and to submit applications at our churches.


DCF has placed PC's in their office lobbies. Applicants for food stamps are supposed to enroll using these computers. However, many applicants don't know how to use the computers. Pam suggested that our parishes could recruit volunteers to work in the DCF lobbies and to help applicants on the computers.


If our parishes want to help fight hunger in other ways, we should search-out and support food pantries and hot meal programs in our communities. We should talk to after-school programs and park programs to see if the children need food and drinks. Many schools start to serve lunch as early as 10:00 AM, so, by the time the children reach after-care, they are often hungry. In addition, hunger may cause children to "act-out" or to cause discipline problems, resulting in unnecessary difficulty for both the staff members and the children. Our parishes could make sandwiches or purchase snacks for the children.


The Food Security Alliance, (formerly, The Hunger Coalition), is asking SHARE about the possibility of buying and store bulk food in advance of hurricanes. C.R.O.S. will be looking for organizations with buildings that could store the food immediately prior to a storm and, if required, open as a food distribution site immediately after the storm. DCF and other government locations are not effective for this purpose. They are not allowed to reopen their buildings to the public until the electricity has been restored. As the past few years have shown, it may take weeks for the electricity to be repaired. However, the need for food after a hurricane emergency is immediate. Churches would make excellent storage and distribution sites since they are dispersed throughout the community and are not restricted from opening without electricity. Also, congregants tend to live near their churches, so they would be available to help volunteer with the distribution, as well as to benefit from the available food. By volunteering to collaborate with C.R.O.S. Ministries and SHARE, our churches could play a vital role in future hurricane disaster relief.

For More Information

If any parishes are interested in participating, they should call The Rev. Pam Cahoon, Executive Director of C.R.O.S. Ministries, at (561) 833-9499 or email:

Appendix A

The following is excerpted from the C.R.O.S. Ministries website. Their site includes an overview of their programs, their newsletter, and volunteer information.

Ministry, Advocacy, Direct Services

Mission: Founded in 1977, the mission of Christians Reaching Out to Society is to enable people of all faiths to work together to identify needs and collaborate with community groups in creating solutions.

C.R.O.S. is supported by churches, synagogues, community groups and private individuals throughout Palm Beach County, all of whom share in this common goal.

Christians Reaching Out to Society, Inc.
4401 Garden Avenue
West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2541
Phone: (561) 833-9499
Fax: (561) 833-1299

The Reverend Pamela A. Cahoon, Executive Director

(561) 833-9499

Appendix A: C.R.O.S. Ministries continued


Food Pantries
Ruth Mageria, (561) 833-9499 (for Riviera Beach, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth)
Elaine Thomas, (561) 330-2676 (for Delray Beach)

The Caring Kitchen
Elaine Thomas, Volunteer Coordinator (561) 330-2676

After School Snack Program
Ruth Mageria, West Palm Beach program (561) 833-9499
Juanita Bryant, Delray Beach program (561) 330-2676

Mentoring Children with Promise
Pat Sheffield (561) 863-1023
David Singleton (561) 833-9499
Lee Washington (561) 996-0076 (Glades area)

Ian Oudit, Gleaning Coordinator (561) 833-9499

Hurricane Recovery
Katie Dodd, Palm Beach County (561) 833-9499
Geralyn Coss, Martin & St. Lucie Counties (772) 359-7827
Cristina Stube, Indian River County (772) 776-1344

Camps & Children
Claribel Baron, Camp Coordinator (561) 833-9499

Computer Program
Karen Mills (561) 833-9499

Appendix B: SHARE Florida Food Network

Churches and organizations located in Southeast Florida contact:

Teresita Aguirre, Field Representative Southeast

SHARE Florida Food Network

Phone (888)-282-4894 or ( 305) 386-7333

Fax (305) 386-7333


Note from Teresita Aquirre: please contact me for anything related to SHARE, from a presentation, to paperwork to become a Host Site. We will train you, (with local support when available), and will help you all the way for a successful operation. We are also in contact all the time, (through visits, emails and telephone calls), and we have a support system in place with the Tampa Office. Thank you for your interest in the SHARE Florida Food Network!

For local information, churches and organizations in Palm Beach & Martin Counties may call Ian Oudit, C.R.O.S. Ministries SHARE Coordinator, at: (561) 833-9499.

The following section is excerpted from the SHARE website. Their site includes: a directory of locations, a distribution calendar, menus, information & application to be a host site, flyers and brochures.

SHARE Florida Food Network is sponsored by Tampa United Methodist Centers and TECO Energy. We are a not-for-profit organization that rewards personal community involvement with substantial savings on delicious food and groceries. Two hours of monthly volunteer service is the only "membership fee" necessary for big savings on your food bill. There are no income requirements. SHARE reaches across Florida through neighborhood locations in each community. Become a part of the SHARE family today and start saving money and changing lives!

SHARE's volume power-buying allows us direct contact with national food distributors and our non-profit status and staff of volunteers keep us heads and shoulders above other discount buying clubs and grocery stores. SHARE has been helping people save money since 1990. We are proud to serve Florida families.

Did you know ...SHARE's first ten years included:

4,400,000 community service hours -- 2,500,000 food packages -- $53,000,000 in community savings

What is a Host Site?

SHARE partners with other nonprofit organizations that desire to serve their community. These organizations are called "Host Sites" and each host site is staffed by volunteers trained by SHARE. A host site can be a:

+ Church, Temple or Synagogue

+ Community or Senior Center

+ Service Club, Veterans' Post

+ Other Nonprofit Organizations

Contact Your Area Representative:

Tampa Bay Area
813-248-3379 or

Southwest Florida
863-494-6645 or

North Florida
352-465-5952 or

Southeast Florida
305-386-7333 or

Become a Host Site

Complete a Host Application that describes your organization and its commitment to the community.

Visit a SHARE Host Site in your area for a firsthand view.

Schedule a presentation or phone conference to answer any additional questions.

Sign a SHARE Host Agreement outlining the responsibilities of the Host Organization.

Recruit at least 6-8 individuals willing to give a few hours each month to lead the site.

Attend a training session conducted by a SHARE representative

Appendix C:

Article from the online newsletter "The Dollar Stretcher"

'Share' Food Program

Want to know one of the best kept secrets around? Here it is: the SHARE food program that is implemented in every state and many places around the world. SHARE stands for Self Help And Resource Exchange. It allows my family to get about $30 worth of groceries for $14.50 plus two hours of volunteer community service. And the service can be absolutely anything you do for someone else for which you are not paid.

The food packages (called Shares) vary each month and in each region of the country. Primarily the SHARE buyers buy from local farmers and producers and buy in bulk. This is not a gov't subsidized program and there are no monetary guidelines. And in many places food stamps can be used to purchase a Share package. If you eat, you qualify. And each person can purchase as many Shares as they need - as long as they do the two hours of service for each Share.

One really nice addition in the past few years are specialty Share packages: holiday packages (including a 9 pound turkey), grilling packs for the summer, seasonal baking packages (comprised of all the goodies necessary to stock your kitchen for baking) and more. You can purchase these separately or in addition to the regular Share each month.

I often include my small children in my SHARE work hours so that they understand that people work for their food. And since I always have many more hours of service (from church things, school activities, etc) I can donate my hours to someone else if I choose - often they go to an elderly person who is housebound.

I have been involved in SHARE for about three years now in two states and find it a good savings and a rewarding thing to do. Besides all my other community service (and that of my husband as well), I go to my local host site on D-Day (distribution day, once a month) and set up and bag food for each participant. I have met a wonderful crew of people there and really enjoy getting to know the people who regularly purchase Shares and come through the site each month. It takes about three hours of my time one Saturday each month. And I love to go do it.

I would say the only draw back to this program is that you can't be picky about your food. It is always good quality food, but you have no choice in what you get (unless you swap items with others as I sometimes do!). Everyone gets the same things, and it always includes frozen meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and some canned goods or staples like pasta or rice. And each month there are usually one or two items I will not use (turnips, acorn squash, kielbasa, etc.). When this happens I ask my neighbors and church friends if anyone will use what I won't and then I give it away. So this way I help others as well. And often my host site orders an extra Share each month just to be sure we have enough. If no one buys it on D-Day or no one else needs it, I then take it as a donation to one of my neighbors who are struggling financially.

I would encourage everyone to check this program out. In many places SHARE is listed in the white pages/business section of the phone book. I am told that a web site is being implemented and will available soon, however I was not able to find the URL for it at this time. Many of the social welfare offices have a contact number the local programs as well. In the Milwaukee area alone there are over 25 host sites - one near just about everybody in the city.

Get involved and save money too!

Appendix D: Article from the Johns Hopkins Gazette - 5.8KB

On United Way: To SHARE Is To Care by Mike Field, Staff Writer

Through your United Way contribution you can give to project SHARE. You can also receive from it.

One of the few bona fide nonprofit organizations set up to provide assistance to everyone, regardless of income qualifications, SHARE distributes monthly grocery baskets of top quality food at half the normal retail cost. All you have to do is volunteer to participate.

"SHARE stands for Self Help and Resource Exchange," explains Mike Duggan, who has been the Baltimore city representative of the organization for the past two years. "Our primary purpose is to promote volunteerism in the community. The idea is to get everyone involved, everybody from the rich to the poor."

Originally started by a church pastor 14 years ago in San Diego, SHARE came to central Maryland five years ago. SHARE participants who volunteer in the community can turn their good deeds into good discounts. For every two hours of certified community service they are eligible to purchase a pre-selected assortment of groceries worth at least $28 to $35 for $14 in cash, money orders, Independence Card credit or food stamps.

Thousands of central Marylanders from all backgrounds now participate in the program. Duggan estimates the SHARE central warehouse in Linthicum processes about 11,000 orders a month, which in turn are distributed through a network of close to 300 affiliated volunteer groups.

Delores Somerville, a lab coordinator in the Biology Department, volunteers with one of the affiliate groups based at her church, Good Shepherd Baptist, in the Pimlico area of the city. "Some of our participants are elderly, some are young people with children, there is quite a mix," she said. All must volunteer in their community and produce a signed receipt certifying two hours of volunteer work for each $14 basket of groceries purchased.

"It's a great program," Somerville said. She has been volunteering with the organization through her church for three years now. In addition to servicing church members, her group helps distribute the food packages to elderly individuals living in the Green Hill senior apartments nearby. Many of them count on the monthly packages to help stretch their limited food dollars.

Although the SHARE program demands certified community service, it is generous in defining what that service can be. In addition to regular volunteer work with the more typical nonprofits, it also accepts such activities as helping in a classroom or teaching a Sunday School class or cooking an incapacitated neighbor's meals.

"Some of our participants use their volunteer hours to buy the food and donate it to others who are in need," Somerville said. "All the food is always fresh and top quality."

SHARE never receives or distributes donated or government surplus food. It does not compete with food pantries or other programs that rely on donations. "There are 26 SHAREs across the country which collect prepaid orders each month and turn them into World SHARE in San Diego," explained Duggan. "The headquarters acts as a central purchasing department, buying and distributing food in volume, in the same way and from some of the same sources that stores like Safeway or Giant purchase."

Volume buying and a distribution system that relies heavily on volunteers like Delores Somerville to sort, bag and distribute the food enables SHARE to encourage volunteerism with monthly grocery packages that are half the cost of similar products purchased at a grocery store. Although the selection of food items varies each month, it always contains a mix of fresh and frozen meats and vegetables and a selection of dry goods.

Duggan said the monthly packages--which are sorted and bagged in recycled grocery bags by the volunteer groups--usually weigh about 20 lbs. In a recent month, for instance, the SHARE package contained chicken breasts, sausage, deli meats, potatoes, salad mix, cauliflower, carrots and dry goods such as noodles and rice. Participants are not limited in the number of monthly packages they can buy, but must volunteer two hours for each package purchased.

Additional costs, such as the expense of operating the central Maryland distribution warehouse in Linthicum, are met by fund-raising efforts like the United Way. "Our facility is huge and it takes a lot of electricity to run the refrigerators, freezers and other equipment," Duggan said. "The support of the United Way enables us to operate SHARE without adding a lot of additional overhead cost to each basket of groceries."

"Our church took this project on as part of its mission work," Somerville said of her years with SHARE. One early Saturday morning each month she and Green Hill Apartments coordinator Ethel Lee join other affiliate group volunteers at the Linthicum warehouse, picking up the monthly food allotment which they then sort and bag at the apartments. "It encourages people to volunteer. It helps some people without much money to eat right. It really does help the community. I think SHARE is wonderful. I don't even mind getting up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning to do it."

[1] Meeting notes submitted by Jane Tierney after review and approval by The Rev. Pam Cahoon. The section discussing SHARE includes footnotes with additional information and comments provided by Teresita Aguirre, Field Representative Southeast, SHARE Florida Food Network.

[2] Additional Information from Teresita Aguirre, Field Representative Southeast, SHARE Florida Food Network: This month's "April Menu" is a good example of the kind of meats, vegetables and fruits included in a SHARE Basic Food Package:

MEATS: 1 lb. Tilapia Fish Filet

1 lb. Boneless Pork Chops

1.7 lbs. Chicken Drums

1 lb. Salisbury Patties

1 lb. Lightly Dusted Chicken Tenderloins

12 oz. package of Smoked Sausage

1 lb. Frozen Peas and Carrots

PRODUCE: 2 tomatoes, 1 bunch Collard Greens, 2 zucchini squash,

1 bag carrots, 2 lbs. Texas sweet onions, 1 bag Salad Mix,

1 Cantaloupe, 1 bag of apples

[3] Teresita Aguirre: When you distribute the bulk food into the orders of each person into their food packages, the work is exactly the same.

For example, if I ordered one Basic Food Package plus 2 Tilapia Filets and 2 Chicken Tenderloins as extra, Select Items...At the site, they received in bulk the basic items and the select items (the tenderloins and the tilapia). Knowing that I ordered two and two, they place the Select Items with my Basic Food Package, and I go home with my complete order.

If I ordered only Select Items, my package may be smaller in volume and, therefore, less difficult for the Host Site Team to assemble. Remember, "Everything is perception." If the Host Site Distribution Team perceives Select as more work, even though they will find their site participants want to order Select, their distribution volunteers won't like to do it. In my experience, Select does not necessarily require more work, and the participants can order to their taste and/or needs. The important amount of orders will always come from the Basic Items.

[4] Teresita Aguirre : Each community knows or will learn what to do. In some places, once you give the food for free, people will always want it for free and become dependent, or they will never return to buy it. On the other hand, some communities may need that extra boost! Always know that SHARE wants to help people overcome difficulties and become self-sufficient. That is why there is a 50% discount or more on the Basic Food Package. Our goals are to help people make ends meet, to spend less money on good nutritious food, and to put more food on the family table."

[5] Teresita Aguirre : If you have identified people in REAL NEED, of course you should do it! Always remember the previous note.

[6] Teresita Aguirre: Please contact me for anything related to SHARE, from a presentation, to paperwork to become a Host Site. We will train you, (with local support when available), and will help you all the way for a successful operation. We will stay in contact with you all the time through visits, emails and telephone calls, and we have a support system in place with the Tampa Office."

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