Thanksgiving is a time for appreciation and gratitude. It is also a time for helping those less fortunate – the specialty of Share, Inc.
"My main motivation is helping people in need," said Nancy Schwartz, a longtime volunteer and former president of Share.
Share is a non-profit organization that was created to serve the needs of families in McLean, Great Falls and Pimmit Hills who have fallen on hard times. Based out of McLean Baptist Church, Share operates all year long, but is particularly busy around the holidays. Nancy Schwartz has been in charge of Share's annual Thanksgiving Basket program for the last seven years.
"Basically, I've asked for people to donate either food certificates or they can provide a basket of non-perishables," said Schwartz. "I've given them a list of items like rolls and bread and canned vegetables and canned gravy."
On Saturday, Nov. 19, Share volunteers gathered at McLean Baptist Church to receive and organize these items. From 12-6 p.m., Share clients were able to come by and pick up a basket for the Thanksgiving holiday.
"We have regular clients that have been notified to come, and Fairfax County also calls referrals in to us as well," said Schwartz.
To collect the items and certificates for the baskets, Share "puts the word out" locally.
"We've always had great support from the community," said Schwartz.
At the Thanksgiving Basket pick-up, Share clients were also able to sign up for the organization's annual "Christmas Store," which will be held on Dec. 17. This is another yearly program that enables Share clients to stock up on food and clothing for the holidays. Participants are able to come to the Christmas store and "shop" for toys, food and clothes.
On Friday, Nov. 18, Share received the last delivery from its annual food drive.
"There is about five tons of food here, so it's quite a lot," said Victor Kimm, president of Share. "We've completely stocked the store room and the food store."
Share collects canned food from local schools and uses its two trucks to pick up the donations.
"There are a lot of people in need in this immediate area," said Kimm. "If you don't see it, you don't know."
Kimm estimates that there are between 20-25 Share volunteers that work on a regular basis, and approximately 100 volunteers who work sporadically throughout the year. Nancy Schwartz says that the holiday season is an important time to help out those less fortunate.
"Hopefully, we are providing them a happier holiday by giving these dinners to them," said Schwartz.