SHARE wants to expand
Thursday, September 5, 2013
MILFORD – Four years ago, SHARE Outreach moved its food pantry and offices from St. Patrick Church to the old Knights of Columbus building in Milford. The nonprofit charity seemed to be gaining a lot of space, and it was.
But in 2009, one year after the start of the recession, no one foresaw that the number of local people who would need SHARE’s help would continue to climb.
Since then, demand for food and other services has doubled. SHARE’s one-story building off Elm Street – which is mainly just a function hall, a kitchen and a couple of small offices – has become inadequate.
“The building needs to expand,” said Paul Spiess, who is SHARE’s treasurer and the chairman of a newly formed capital campaign committee to raise money for an addition to the building.
The new 2,000-square feet would house administrative functions, a reception area and handicap-accessible bathrooms.
The addition would be built where clients enter the building along its west side, and a new reception area will divide the offices from the food pantry. The function room and kitchen, which are used for community events, will stay as they are.
More clients mean there is more food to store and a lot of that storage is in the basement.
More refrigerator space is needed, Spiess said, and more shelf space upstairs so that volunteers don’t have to keep climbing up and down stairs.
Not long ago, SHARE’s food pantry was open a few days a week. To serve the growing clientele, the hours have been expanded and it is open five days a week, but it is still congested, Spiess said.
It’s not just the recession that’s fueling the growth in demand.
“Services from the state and federal government have dried up,” he said, and SHARE is also helping the growing number of elderly who are struggling to stay in their homes.
The addition is expected to cost about $300,000.
The 43-year-old building also needs a new roof, but money for that expense and improvements to the HVAC system will come from the organization’s reserve account, Spiess said.
Despite the building’s drawbacks, SHARE wants to stay where it is, off Elm Street, Spiess said. It’s a central location, yet relatively private.
“Members of the board have committed $90,000 of personal resources to this project, but we still need help from the Souhegan Valley communities we serve,” said Cynthia Dokmo, chairwoman of SHARE’s Board of Directors in a press release.
Construction is planned to begin in spring 2014.
Donations can be brought or mailed to the main office of the SHARE Center, 1 Columbus Ave., Milford, N.H. 03055. Cash, credit cards or checks are acceptable.
SHARE’s phone number is 673-9898.
To make a secure online donation, go to SHARE’s website at www.sharenh.org.
SHARE serves people who live in Milford, Amherst, Brookline and Mont Vernon. Its mission is to provide food, clothing and short-term financial help to those who don’t qualify for government help, or for people whose government assistance is delayed or inadequate.