The Philadelphia Self-Help and Resource Exchange, SHARE, first opened its doors in 1986 under the national SHARE umbrella organization. A founding member of the Pennsylvania Association of Regional food Banks, now known as Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, SHARE has since become an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3). At its beginnings SHARE served 50 host organizations with 1,248 packages a year through the SHARE Food Package Program. This program which distributes discounted food each month to those that contribute two or more hours of service within their communities has since grown to over 16,000 per year.
In 1991 the organization expanded its services by becoming the lead agency in Philadelphia County for the State Food Purchase Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which utilizes state and federal funding to provide food each month to over 500 food cupboards in Pennsylvania.
By 1996 SHARE noticed a growing need in the community for immediate, year-round access to nutritious food for communities in Philadelphia and opened a Community Service Store. This store provides discounted, quality food to individuals every day that show proof of community service. In addition to increasing the number of individuals and families served, SHARE also has a strong commitment to increasing the quality of food families and individuals have access to. In 2001, SHARE partnered with The Food Trust to offer high quality, locally grown fruits and vegetables in the Fresh Food Package. Additionally in 2002, SHARE became the umbrella agency for the Coalition Against Hunger, partnering to incorporate advocacy and educational information into their programs. SHARE provided similar services to Common Market who specialized in the aggregation of fresh, local produce and continue to do so from SHARE’s warehouse. SHARE has also served as a United Way distribution center and housed the Philly Cares Teacher Store.
Today SHARE continues to serve these communities and more with the addition of its Nice Roots Farm and Farm to Families Programs. With the recent purchase of its 170,000+ sq ft warehouse, SHARE is poised for further growth and is looking to expand its current operation to better serve its communities. With over 250 host organizations and over 500 food cupboards in the SHARE network, the organization is looking to future to find willing and interested partners as it further develops its programs the families and individuals they reach.