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Sharing & Caring Has Long History of Serving

Feb 25, 2016 07:27PM ● Published by Kevin

More than 100 families monthly depend on the Sharing & Caring Food Pantry. Food is always needed to replenish the pantry inventory.

Rabun County has a long history of self-sufficiency and of homefolks taking care of homefolks. One of those organizations that has been on the front line offering clothing and food, as well as household items, is Sharing & Caring Rabun County.

From their modest tan frame building nestled behind the Rabun County Courthouse and the Rabun County Historical Society, Sharing & Caring has been helping residents whose needs outpace their resources for more than 30 years.

It was 1984, and a group of concerned individuals from the local Catholic congregation saw those needs. A segment of the local population was going without adequate clothing, without enough food to properly feed their families and something needed to be done. Under that initial impetus, a group representing several area churches met at the Clayton United Methodist Church.

Sharing & Caring, both as a concept and a reality was born.

Originally, the agency was housed in a building very near where Shadyside Drive comes into Savannah Street south of the courthouse. From that location, they began to work to resolve those problems that compromised quality of life for local citizens. 

The emphasis hasn’t shifted.

“We don’t want anyone to go hungry,” affirms Linda Giles, president of the Sharing & Caring board of directors. She’s been involved with the agency for the past 16 years, and notes that many of their board members and volunteers have many years of service accrued.

Sharing & Caring is totally volunteer run. Everyone donates time and services, and no salaries are paid. Seven board members are elected for two-year terms and enthusiasm for the jobs they all do is high and contagious. These people get their “payday” during the organization’s volunteer recognition banquet each year, when they all get to feel good about the difference they make.

Jan Sheldon, who lost her husband in the past few years, explained it this way. “I’d much rather be here, doing something good, than spending money on doctors to help me get over my grief.” She said she initially planned to volunteer until she got to feeling better. Now she feels better because she continues to show up each week.

Some 110 families are served monthly, and qualification for help is processed by Ninth District Opportunity, Inc. in Clayton, which can be reached by phone at 706.782.3704. Appointments are necessary. However, if someone loses their home and possessions to a fire or storm, all they have to do is show documentation and the Sharing & Caring inventory is available to them.

That inventory includes a wide selection of women’s clothing, and to a lesser degree items for men and children. There are lamps, dishes and cookware and a variety of merchandise that families and individuals need.

Food is distributed each Friday, and the quantity of food a person can receive is based on the number of people in the household. Food continues to be Sharing & Caring’s biggest need, although donations of clothing and household goods and money are also gratefully accepted. The agency receives no tax money support. Their entire operating budget is underwritten by donations and the sale of merchandise from the store.

Sharing & Caring is located at 127 Hiawassee Street in Clayton, and is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9:00 AM ‘til 12 noon. The phone number for more information is 706.782.6340.

Written by John Shivers.

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