Removal of Share bin affects the community

To the Editor:

The larger and more distant corporations are from the customers they serve, the less they seem to appreciate and care about the day to day realities of their customers’ lives.

During the past month, area residents and in particular the people who live on the edge of economic independence, have been forced to deal with two events that are having a direct impact on their daily subsistence and quality of life. The debacle at Market Basket grocery stores would be entertaining and funny if it didn’t take the lowest cost food supplier out of the market. Thousands of customers in the Milford area have come to rely on their consistent low prices and predictable quality to stretch their family food budgets. Perhaps the reality of paying $125 instead of $100 a week for food is a nuisance for most of us, but for families making $40,000 a year or less, it means less food for the family.

Adding insult to injury, Shaw’s Market has decided that this is a good time to kick all the various charities and nonprofit organizations out of their stores, because it is inconvenient for them to decide who merits their recognition. This is not about direct financial support to these organizations who mostly support local food pantries. It is about recognizing community need and making it easy for their “customers” to provide donations of food and household products to local organizations.

Let’s take Share as an example. For many years, Shaw’s supermarket has allowed Share to place a barrel in their checkout area as a collection point for donations of food products and household items. Customers could conveniently buy an extra can of soup, laundry detergent, or box of pasta then pay for it at checkout and drop it in the barrel. To their credit, the local store even pre-packaged bags of grocery items modestly priced so that customer could pick them up before checkout and just run them through the checkout line; simple, convenient and a modest boost to store sales.

This was a great program for Shaw’s, a steady and predictable supply of food for Share and an important source of supplemental food for people struggling to make ends meet. No direct cost to Shaw’s, paid for in small amounts by their customers, conveniently picked up and distributed by Share, and a valuable component of community support.

Now, someone at corporate headquarters, or perhaps even the entire board of directors decides that this effort is an inconvenience. It is too much trouble to decide who gets to put the barrel in the exit area. I may be wrong, but I doubt it was the local managers who pushed for this decision. They know their communities, they know who to support and which organizations make a difference. Somebody high up the pecking order has made their life a little easier, and many on the lower rungs pay the price.

Sad, isn’t it?

Paul Spiess

Director

Share Outreach Inc.