Local Food Bank Losing Ground

By: Meagan O'Halloran Email
By: Meagan O'Halloran Email


The economy may be rebounding, but that news has been slow to reach the streets, where non-profit and charitable organizations are having a tough time.
The “Sharing and Caring” food bank in Ft. Walton Beach had to turn-away clients yesterday, because the organization is running out of food.
Theresa Red is homeless and hungry.
I asked Red, a regular at the food bank, what it’s like to be hungry all the time, and not knowing when the next meal is going to be?
She replied, “It’s bad, really bad…really really bad. You gotta humble yourself and be totally humiliated while you're walking down the street."
Robert Crane isn’t homeless but says he’s close to it. He is unemployed and has been for several months.
He too knows how hard things can be and even contemplated illegal actions to make ends meet.
"I walked out of a place and thought about walking into Publix and stealing some food because I was just hungry. Of course I didn't do that...but I mean, you get desperate.”
Usually Red, Crane, and others like them, can turn to "Sharing and Caring."
Aaron Thrush is a volunteer at the non-profit organization and was President in 2008. He sees this kind of stuff day in and day out.
"People in our country are hurting. As a result when you work here you see the need. It makes you realize that whatever you can do to meet those needs is very satisfying."
“Sharing and Caring” is run entirely by volunteers.
Last year they fed and provided for over 22-thousand people but still rely on contributions from the community.
But lately the agency has had a hard time meeting those needs.
The shelves aren't bare, but there’s barely enough to operate.
Today is normally "free lunch day", but because of the food shortage and lack of funding, the organization can't provide the lunch service as often as it used to.
So the people who usually help out others are now asking the public for a helping hand.
Red doesn’t know what she would do without the nonprofit.
"Sharing and Caring has been here forever. It used to be (that) they did a whole lot of other stuff. But because of the economy and everything, they're not doing it anymore… They don't have any money... They're almost homeless like we are."
Crane knows even the smallest contribution means more than anything, and he says he is immensely grateful.
"One can, two cans, five cans, because these people need it. And they're doing good work, really good work.
Thrush has dedicated his life to this cause and gets emotional when he talks about it.
He says it means more than anything to see the human spirit helping one another. Community kindness goes a long way, especially in these times and under these circumstances.
He adds, "When they provide things, think as if they're putting it on the table, because that is where it's gonna end up."
To donate goods or volunteer, call “Sharing and Caring” at (850) 244-0778, Monday through Friday between 10:00 A.M and 2:00 P.M. If you would like to drop off items, they are located at 126 Beal Parkway, SW, Ft. Walton Beach, FL, 32548

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