Sat 6 May 2006
Project SHARE is an organization that focuses on providing food, clothes, and nutritional education to those in need in the Carlisle community. Once a month they offer a week of food distribution to men, women, children, families, and the elderly. Various companies in the area donate food to go to these clients. Every Wednesday of every week is the clothing distribution. They also offer once a month “Kids in the Kitchen” which is a program designed to teach children how to cook and how to eat nutritiously. Three times a month they offer “Soup to Nuts” which is a cooking program designed for adults. Project SHARE is lucky to have the local farms who offer some of their products such as apples, watermelons, and many other fruits and vegetables. The benefit of working with these farms is that Project SHARE sends volunteers to the farms to pick this produce and SHARE gets a donation of the product. There is a strong relationship between Project SHARE and the community for this reason.
I personally impacted the people in the agency by making this promotional video for Project SHARE to send to missions and churches to gather more volunteers for the organization. Nonprofits can only function with the help of volunteers. By coming to take pictures at some of the major programs offered at SHARE including Kids in the Kitchen, Food Distribution, and Clothing Distribution I was able to interact with both the volunteers for whom I created the video as well as the clients. I was able to really see that Project SHARE serves all people from young to old throughout this community. I met a man who fifteen years ago used Project SHARE’s services but today is one of the volunteers. Project SHARE helped him to create a better life for himself by providing the necessities so that he could focus his own efforts on helping himself. His story is truly motivating because he utilized the programs and now he is giving back to his community, to those who helped him. I realize that with volunteers like him, Project SHARE will continue to help people who need food, clothing, and nutritional education. I also hope that the video I helped create will bring new volunteers to Project SHARE who believe in their mission and who will dedicate their time to a good cause.
This experience has made me realize what a tough job it is to manage a nonprofit organization. Elaine Livas, the executive director of Project Share, was able to utilize our class for many different projects for her. Two groups from our class were recreating and updating promotional videos. We spent the semester learning about marketing for nonprofits and that you have to market differently to different clients. I also learned through working with SHARE the other various problems a nonprofit can face including organizational difficulties, volunteer retention, the need for networking, and the demands placed on the executive director. Delegation is necessary, however there must be a strong enough group of directors to which to delegate. I think it is important that this class be a service learning course because not only did we have the classroom experience to hear about nonprofit management, but we also had the hands on, interactive experience to understand what we learned in class.