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HISTORY OF CARE AND SHARE
Franciscan Sister Dominique Pisciotta established Care and Share more than 35 years ago as a referral agency to coordinate food distribution. Sister Pisciotta and representatives from several emergency food agencies observed a need in Colorado Springs to establish a communication system between food agencies and to create a unified voice for hunger and poverty issues in the Pikes Peak region. The new organization, incorporated on October 10, 1974, established a central telephone clearinghouse, followed by a master file of persons helped by the agencies.
Incredibly, for the first eight years of Care and Share's existence, all tasks were accomplished through the dedication of volunteers. In that time, Care and Share provided more than 80,000 food baskets to people in need throughout the Pikes Peak region. It continued to run on an all-volunteer basis until 1982 when it became partly funded by Pikes Peak United Way. The agency asked United Way for two salaried employees and in January 1982, Gigi Cook became the first paid staff member and the first Director of Care and Share Food Bank.
The organization continued to evolve and grew from a simple clearinghouse for food distribution to a sophisticated telephone referral service and food bank administrator. It acquired the administration of Project COPE (Citizens Option to Provide Energy), a program that uses donated money to provide one-time assistance to low-income persons. Care and Share also merged with the Pikes Peak Food Bank in 1980.
By 1986, Care and Share fed more than 6,000 people, giving away approximately 30,000 pounds food a month. The agency had gone from a one-person staff serving 13 agencies to a staff of seven serving 47 agencies that also administered the Pikes Peak Food Bank and COPE.
In 1989 Care and Share became a member of the America's Second Harvest National Food Bank Network (now called Feeding America) and began to focus on food distribution. This association also expanded the service area from two counties to the southern 31 counties of Colorado. Joining Feeding America allowed Care and Share access to a wider variety of products, donated by national food distributors and wholesalers. This has become the major source of food for Care and Share. In addition to providing food resources, Feeding America serves as a resource for professional development and networking opportunities, as well as coordinating efforts for product donations and distribution in disaster situations.
Care and Share continues to streamline its processes and reduce redundancy among nonprofits to focus on increasing food distribution to those who need it most. To that end, the food bank relinquished the administrative duties of Project COPE, handing it back to Colorado Springs Utilities for administration. In 2009, the food bank also ceased its help line services, instead directing those in need to United Way's well-established 2-1-1 hotline.
As the population of southern Colorado increases, so does the need. The organization continues to grow and serve more and more people in need throughout southern Colorado. Care and Share has always had a presence in Colorado Springs, but in 2002, Care and Share opened a second warehouse, located in Pueblo, Colorado. Care and Share leased warehouse space in Pueblo until 2007, when it purchased its own warehouse south of the city.
Care and Share had leased warehouse space in different areas of Colorado Springs, but as the need grew, the food bank kept outgrowing its warehouses. In 2009, Care and Share moved into its permanent Colorado Springs home at 2605 Preamble Point off Constitution Avenue and just east of Powers Boulevard. This 50,000 square foot warehouse incorporates the best of food banking practices and allows Care and Share to distribute more nutritious food than ever before.
“In the last fiscal year, Care and Share distributed more than 17 million pounds of food throughout Southern Colorado.”
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