November 22, 2014

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We Care, We Share food pantry survives in hard times

LORAIN — Last August, Bill Hurley said the We Care, We Share Ministries food pantry was about to close, but the group has survived.

Like food banks and food pantries across the nation, We Care, We Share, has grappled with increasing demand since the Great Recession and decreasing funding.

The group distributes food twice a week and clothing once per week. Hurley, ministries president, said the nonprofit group, founded by the Amherst Church of Christ in 2007, has been able to survive due to several private donations and grants.

“We’ve been blessed,” he said Thursday.

Recent contributions include:

• $4,600 from Second Harvest of North Central Ohio, The Community Foundation of Lorain County, The Hampson Family Foundation, Harvest for Hunger and private donations.

• A $7,000 grant from the Nord Family Foundation and The Community Foundation of Lorain County and private donations.

• About $4,250 from Burger King and radio stations WOBL and WDLW.

Hurley said the group, which has an approximately $25,000 annual budget, also receives regular contributions from the church and is greatly dependent on Second Harvest.

Help also comes from regular donations of about $1,000 from an area family and regular contributions of a few hundred dollars from

American Legion Post 118 in Amherst.

Hurley compared the group’s existence to a worker living paycheck to paycheck, but hopes the long-term outlook will improve with William Locke joining the group’s board of directors. Locke was a longtime Lorain County Community Action Agency CEO and president who retired last year.

Hurley hopes the group will benefit from Locke’s experience obtaining grant money for nonprofit groups.

“He has a lot of knowledge and wisdom to share with us,” Hurley said.

Hurley said he realizes the group needs to continue to forge collaborations with other area groups to survive.

“That’s what it takes to uplift a community,” he said. “It takes everybody stepping up. It’s helping your brother.”

Caring, Sharing

Mirroring a nationwide trend since the Great Recession, demand at food pantries like We Care, We Share Ministries in Lorain continued to rise last year.

We Care, We Share stats

• 26,101 individuals served.

• 7,004 families served.

• More than 300,000 pounds of food distributed.

• About 39 percent served younger than 18.

• About 11 percent served are age 60 and older.

Farmers markets

• 7,168 Individuals served.

• 1,759 families served.

Source: We Care, We Share Ministries

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodnow@chroniclet.com.