Ketchup spaghetti, food bank donations, and the solution to a bad day

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Sharon Perry was having a bad day.

On the mend from nine surgeries resulting from breast cancer, Perry was looking for a way to make her bad day a bit better.

“What makes me happy is finding ways to give back to the community,” Perry explains while chatting with the Dispatch between appointment. “Giving just kind of fills my cup.”

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She turned her attention to SHARE Food Bank.

On Friday, Perry made a pledge to match as much $1,000 a month in donations to SHARE.

In recognition of the organization’s 50 years of operation, Perry says she’s looking for 50 donors willing to chip in at least $20 a month.

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Food insecurity

As CEO of SHARE Family & Community Services, Claire MacLean has watched food insecurity worsen in the Tri-Cities. It was exacerbated during the pandemic but – if the volume of new customers at the food bank are an indicator – it’s worse now.

“Times are just really hard between the price of groceries, the price of gas the lack of affordable housing,” she says. “I think people are just getting hit from every direction.”

Compared to the same time last year, use of the food bank is up 50 percent, MacLean says. And new people are showing up every day, she adds.

MacLean says she was “thrilled” when Perry made her pledge.

“It’s early days but we’ve got a lot of hope for it.”

Ketchup spaghetti

Perry gets emotional when she talks about her mother.

Growing up as one of eight kids, her mother grew up eating spaghetti with ketchup, Perry says.

It’s a dish Perry ate as a child and a dish she made for her children. She even came to enjoy it. But it also represents a lack of options.

“For me, I had a choice between ketchup versus spaghetti sauce,” she says. “Families don’t have choices. . . . They don’t have food in their cupboards.”

Perry is well aware of people struggling amid long-COVID and high inflation. She knows about kids whose hunger pains won’t let them focus in school. But she also knows some people who are doing well, even thriving. Those are the people she’s trying to reach.

“For those of us who are thriving, let’s start this monthly donation.”

To learn more or to donate, click here.

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