Milford’s SHARE Outreach hammers home real needBy NANCY BEAN FOSTER
Union Leader Correspondent
September 10. 2013 6:41PM
MILFORD — As demand for services continues to increase at the SHARE Outreach, the organization has launched a capital campaign to help raise money to add an addition to their building.
People from Milford, Amherst, Mont Vernon, and Brookline rely on SHARE to help bridge the gap between their income and their needs. The organization offers a food pantry, clothing, financial help for needs not addressed by town or state welfare agencies, and emergency assistance for those in crisis.
According to Paul Spiess, chair of SHARE’s fundraising committee, need in the communities SHARE serves has grown exponentially since the recession began in 2008.
“We’re now open five days a week,” said Spiess. “The economy has weakened people’s financial resources and with cuts on the local, state and federal level, there’s less support and less money out there for people who need it.”
Those who are employed are often working part-time for less pay and often without the benefits afforded full-time employees and trying to make ends meet is difficult for many people, Spiess said.
“We’re seeing new clients who need us who weren’t here three or four years ago,” said Spiess.
But the demographic that is showing the largest increase for demand of services at SHARE are those on fixed incomes, Spiess said.
“The population is aging and people in their 60s and 70s are trying to stay in their homes,” he said. “We’re seeing more elderly people who can’t do it all appearing on our doorstep, and that’s not going to improve with the economy. It’s sad to see.”
In order to meet demand, SHARE is hoping to add an addition onto the back of the building on Elm Street to house the organization’s offices and reception area. The old office space will then be used to increase the size of the food pantry, and for storage and refrigeration space.
The building SHARE moved into at the end of 2008 was a former Knights of Columbus hall and “wasn’t built for the kinds of things we’re trying to do,” Spiess said.
An estimated $350,000 to $400,000 will be needed to build the addition, and the organization is hoping to raise $300,000 through donations and other strategies. Spiess said the goal is to wrap up the fundraising campaign at the end of the year. If all goes well, construction will begin on the building in the spring of 2014.
For more information visit www.sharenh.org.