How Care and Share has Spread the Message of Giving Throughout the Year


Care and Share pantry where donations are recieved.

Meghana Gogate

With the start of the “Most wonderful time of the year”, each year December brings feelings of joy as preparations for the new year and holidays begin. More people spend time donating to charities as an effort to spread happiness to those in need. One such local organization, Care and Share, constantly gives back to clients, members of the EL in need, through events and their local pantry managed by volunteers. 

Shelly Roy, a senior member of Care and Share, works with adult volunteers and has been the secretary for the organization since 2018. I talked with her about her accomplishments and fundraisers at Care and Share.


Viking Saga: How many years have you worked at Care and Share? 

I started volunteering with Care and Share shortly after I retired so I guess it’s been 5 or 6 years. I started out, the way we usually ask many of our volunteers to start out, and that’s doing intake on Saturdays. That’s the best way to become familiar with the pantry.

I started filling in for the Care and Share secretary and eventually she had to withdraw from the position and I took over as secretary. And I’ve been secretary now, I think, for 4 years.

In addition, I work with any new volunteers and coordinate doing an orientation and particularly with the adult volunteers going over what their options are. With students, we don’t have that many options because our rules are that anybody under 21 will not be working directly with clients. It makes it kind of limiting where you do mostly intake or helping with other projects in the pantry.


VS: How do volunteers interact with clients getting food and other services from Care and Share?

Anybody who needs food and other [services], what they do is they call our number and we have people we call responders and the responders monitor the phones and once an hour check for messages. The messages could be ‘I want a volunteer’ “I have some food to donate but I can’t come on Saturday”.

If they’re looking for food, what we do is they get scheduled for a certain time and then the responders put that into a Google Sheets and all the people who pack for clients have access to that. The clients come in and they do at that point show proof of residency. That makes it a little easier to give them other services.

Pretty much if anyone shows up at the pantry looking for food, we’ll give them food. Some pantries do allow clients to come through and take a cart and kind of shop, but we’re just too small to do that. The packer will grab what we call a grid.

The grid is a table that shows all the standard food we give and it also shows at the top, household numbers. Based on the household number you would give certain amounts of food. The packers take a cart and basically they do the shopping. They walk around the pantry and they fill it up”

The other thing that clients can get from us is what we call Designated Assistance and they are applying for that now for next year. That means every month Care and Share would pay something toward one of their regular bills: rent, electricity, phone, even taxes.

We also offer emergency assistance if you have a medical bill or your car breaks down or if something else comes up and you can’t pay the bill and we can give a client up to $800 per year toward a bill.


VS: What does Care and Share do for the holidays?

We provide food baskets at Thanksgiving, at Christmas and Easter. We get a lot of people offering to do food drives. We get most of our donations at Thanksgiving time, after that no so much. We talk to the holiday basket people and add what they need to our list. The Niantic Lions provide all the produce for the Christmas baskets.

We do try to look for donations to support the food baskets where we can. But we also have what we call the angel tree. With that, what we do is we send out and clients fill out an application and they tell us ‘What kinds of things do you need?” and very often they’re just looking for stuff for their children”


VS: What are your thoughts on people donating this holiday season?

I have to tell you that it has been so gratifying to see people donate to Care and Share and very often on Saturday people would show up and hand us a 20 dollar bill and sometimes its just 5 dollars and it’s a gift from the heart.

To me, it is so nice to see how well the community supports Care and Share. We’ve had to spend very little of our own money which makes it easier for us to store more food and keep track of it. The more people see what we do with the money we donate the more likely they are to keep donating.


VS: Why do you think giving is important during the holidays and beyond this month?

If people are able to give knowing that their donation no matter how small or how large will benefit somebody in their community is so important because you know it’s not going to some nameless, faceless person.