The price is right to SHARE

Imagine that this weekend a service station in your community begins offering gas for $1.99 a gallon. Would you expect a long line? How quickly would the good news spread, even to neighboring communities? Would anyone not pull up to that pump because of concern they’d be taking inexpensive gas away from people with lower incomes?

Imagine once more: What if your community had a place offering groceries at half price? Let’s say you heard from a friend that she just got nearly two pounds of chicken drumsticks, a pound and a half of whole pork tenderloins, a pound of pork sausage, a half-pound of deli-shaved roast beef, as well as sacks of red potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, lettuce, peaches, radishes, broccoli, black plums and red seedless grapes — all for $16.

Might you be interested in that bargain?

There’s no need to imagine the second scenario. Those are the grocery contents, and the price, available in dozens of communities throughout central Illinois this weekend through the SHARE Food program, an activity of the Diocese of Peoria.

With high gas and grocery prices squeezing household budgets, we’re all looking for places to hold down expenses. We recommend taking a fresh, or first, look at SHARE Food, a program that has been around our diocese for more than two decades but remains misunderstood and underutilized.

The SHARE Food recipe is a simple one: Take $16, mix in a pledge of two hours of community service, and then pick up your food package valued at $35 at a host site near you. And yes, there is one near you — SHARE Food has nearly 100 host sites in the Diocese of Peoria, some at Catholic parishes. (See below for a list of communities hosting SHARE Food.)

There are no eligibility requirements, no forms to fill out. A SHARE Food motto is “If you eat, you qualify.”

SHARE Food has a new executive director. Bob Glenzinski, whose story appears on page 6 of this week’s issue of The Catholic Post. Glenzinski says a surprising misconception about SHARE Food is that some believe if they take advantage of the bargain, there will be less food for those who may need it more.

The opposite is true.

“Volume helps us leverage pricing,” said Glenzinski. The more who sign up for SHARE, the larger the order. And Glenzinski can get a better price on 10,000 units of potatoes than 5,000.

Does a pledge of two hours of community service a month worry you? It shouldn’t. All kinds of volunteer efforts meet that requirement. For example, if your health doesn’t allow you to get out much, even two hours of prayer for others would count. We believe that the service ingredient is one that enriches SHARE, our parishes, our communities, and the faith of individual Catholics and families.

Finally, if your parish is not a host site for SHARE Food, now is the perfect time to reconsider. Pastors, here is a program that brings people of all faiths together and says to the community that your parish understands the struggles families are facing today. But as Anne Murchison, a SHARE Food coordinator at St. Mary’s Parish, Kewanee, explains, a bargain is a bargain and the program is not just for stressful economic times.

“I’ve never been able to understand why there hasn’t been more participation when the economy was good,” she told us this week.

Want more information? Call SHARE Food’s Peoria warehouse offices toll free at 1-800-637-5508. They can direct you to the host and sign up site nearest you.

Now if we can just get a SHARE Gas program! — Thomas J. Dermody, editor-in-chief, The Catholic Post

Communities in diocese with SHARE Food sites

Following is a list of communities in the Diocese of Peoria with distribution sites for the SHARE Food Program of Central Illinois. Those communities with Catholic parishes serving as the host organization are noted.

This list may not be complete. For questions regarding the nearest SHARE Food distribution site to you, call (800) 637-5508.

Aledo, Alexis, Atlanta, Biggsville, Bloomington, Bradford, Brimfield, Bushnell, Cambridge, Canton, Carlock, Champaign (St. Matthew’s), Chillicothe, Cisco, Clinton, Colona (St. Patrick’s), Danville (St. Paul’s, Holy Family), Dunlap, Dwight, East Moline, Ellsworth, Elmwood, El Paso, Eureka, Fairbury, Farmer City, Farmington, Hanna City, Henry, Homer, Galesburg (St. Vincent de Paul Society, Corpus Christi Parish); Geneseo, Granville, Hoopeston, Hopedale, Kenney, Kewanee (St. Mary’s); Lacon (Catholic Center); LaSalle, and Lexington.

Also Macomb, Magnolia, Mahomet, Manito, Mapleton, Mendota, Metamora, Moline, Monmouth, Morton, Normal, Ottawa, Pekin, Peoria (including St. Bernard, St. Mark’s, and Holy Family parishes); Peoria Heights (St. Thomas); Pontiac, Port Byron, Princeton, Princeville, Rantoul, Roanoke, Rock Island, Roseville, Sheffield, Stanford, Streator, Tilton, Tiskilwa, Tonica, Toulon, Urbana, Varna, Viola, Washington, Wataga, Westville, Woodhull, and Wyoming.

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