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Food Share celebrates 20 years

Posted: Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Christian, Cayden and Chris Knapp (Florence Food Share volunteer) check the garden’s progress during Saturday’s open house.

“Grateful” and “proud” were just some of the words of praise heard Saturday afternoon during Florence Food Share’s open house to celebrate 20 years of operation in the emergency food pantry’s building on Spruce Street.

When Executive Director Karen Lyn, who has been with Food Share since 1997, spoke of the founders of the nonprofit agency who envisioned a facility and made it a reality, she told the story of an entire community.

“These were people with compassion who saw a need,” said Lyn. “This community had the foresight to do this.”

That compassion is still evident today in the dozens of volunteers, the shopping-style pantry where clients can take a cart and choose their own groceries, and the beautifully tended garden, which now boasts drip irrigation, a water collection and storage system, a huge greenhouse and a new shed. The garden is projected to provide more than 6,000 pounds of fresh produce this year.

“I’m so grateful to the group that built this facility. We are so proud to have this place to work from. I’ve visited other pantries and saw their difficulties, trying to use spaces that weren’t constructed with this kind of operation in mind. They operate out of old homes or other buildings.”

The program had humble beginnings, said the executive director.

It started in the early 1980s as Manna Ministries, organized by churches and volunteers and operating out of garages and car trunks. Florence Area Coordinating Council served as the umbrella organization.

For the complete article see the 05-08-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-08-2013 paper.

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