SHARE members donate more than a thousand volunteer hours each month to make a difference for clients in McLean, Great Falls and Pimmit Hills neighborhoods.
Photos by Nadezhda Shulga/The Connection
On Nov.15, supporters, volunteers and community officials gathered in the McLean Community Center to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Share, an all-volunteer organization helping people in need in the local community.
Since 1969, Share has operated in space provided by McLean Baptist Church. Share depends entirely upon donations from private citizens, faith-based groups, school organizations, civic clubs, local businesses and corporations, and has no paid staff.
Share provides assistance to its neighbors in need with food, furniture, clothing, laptop computers, back-to-school supplies, holiday programs, and emergency family assistance.
Every Wednesday and Saturday Nicki Watts and other volunteers come to McLean Baptist Church to help run Share’s food and clothing programs. Watts is a volunteer office manager, pantry co-chair, and board member at Share. Such involvement consumes a great deal of her time, but she is happy and proud to be part of the non-profit program.
“I'm retired military and I need something to do, I need a mission,” Watts said. “This volunteer position is just perfect for me. I love it! It's exactly what I like to do.”
Watts is part of a group of about 85 core volunteers who run various Share programs. About 200 people participate periodically throughout the year, donating more than a thousand volunteer hours each month to make a difference for clients in the McLean, Great Falls and Pimmit Hills neighborhoods.
“I am doing this to help other people. I just like to give back to my community. At the same time volunteering is a selfish thing because it makes you feel so good,” said Michelle Shaw, co-chair of Share’s family assistance program.
“Most of our clients are the victims of spousal abuse, the working poor, people who just can’t make ends meet, and seniors living on limited budgets, or with health problems function,” said Vic Kimm, vice-president of Share.
During the Nov. 15 celebration of 50 years, Dranesville Supervisor John Foust presented Share President, Don Frickel, with a resolution of congratulations from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recognizing Share “for providing extraordinary service to residents of Fairfax County.”
Share’s major programs are providing refurbished laptop computers to school-age children; providing family assistance for help with rent, medical bills, utilities, etc.; a food pantry where clients shop twice each month for fresh meat, household essentials, canned vegetables, etc.; and a holiday store, where taking pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus is an annual favorite tradition.
“We have a group that I'm particularly proud of that rebuilds computers. This was an idea dreamed up by some of our high school kids,” said Frickel. “They came to the board and told us if they had a place to work, they could refurbish computers.
According to Frickel, Share helps people with rent, utilities, medical bills. Working with local middle schools and high schools, Share assists students with fees and the cost of field trips. Additionally, In the past year Share has spent $150,000 providing support to families in crisis.
For more information about Share’s programs, see their website: www. shareofmclearn.org.