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Popular food program to end

April 23, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - A 27-year-long effort to provide low-cost food to members will end May 19 when the SHARE program terminates.

Barb Maronen, director of the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program at the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and SHARE site coordinator, said rising costs have made continued operation of the organization problematic.

SHARE started in 1985 to help reduce food costs for members.

"It was kind of a food-buying club," she said.

The organization works with large food producing companies, who repackage their products so they can be sold at lower prices, Maronen said.

According to the organization's website, "SHARE's nonprofit, volunteer-run food buying club helps families save 30-50 (percent) on supermarket quality food. Everyone is welcome to save on food and help their community."

Maronen said there is no maximum income or age requirement to become a member of SHARE.

"It's always been an organization open to everyone," she said. "The people who participated in it really enjoyed it."

SHARE members can buy a wide variety of foods, including frozen meats and fresh produce, Maronen said. The organization has been working to offer a healthier line of products, also.

"SHARE has tried to get a lot more organic and hormone-free foods," she said.

Members could either buy packages of many food items, Maronen said, or buy items individually.

Maronen said the WUPHD office at 540 Depot St. in Hancock is the pick-up location for SHARE, and RSVP volunteers operate it.

The last pick-up date is May 19. Orders can be made online at with a debit or credit card at Online order forms can be filled out online, also, at Print out the form and mail or bring in payment to the office by May 1. Online orders must be in by May 6.

Maronen said increased shipping costs and a drop off in participation have contributed to the end of SHARE.

"It's kind of a perfect storm," she said. "SHARE really feels like they have fulfilled their mission. It's a program that's going to be missed."



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