Sharing Shed helps co-workers through tough times

Sheds are typically used to store garden tools and outdoor equipment such as lawn mowers. At Ecumenical Retirement Community, a special shed saves lives.

The Sharing Shed is a small building on campus filled with non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies and personal items. It was founded as a labor of love by a group of caring co-workers for colleagues to pick up items they need at home.

“A co-worker noticed that some co-workers didn’t have the money to buy food or basic items in between paychecks,” says Dave Kraft, a retired co-worker with nearly 35 years of service with Ecumenical Retirement Community and its sister company, Country Meadows Retirement Communities. “We created the Sharing Shed to help co-workers who need a little help to get by.”

Co-workers can take items they need for themselves or their families when they don’t have money purchase them. Kraft says, “It is completely anonymous. Co-workers go to the shed and take items they need. We keep an eye on the supplies and replenish the shed as needed. No questions asked.”

A committee composed of volunteers meets monthly to strategize events to raise money to buy items, discuss co-worker needs and requests and cover shed business. At first, the Sharing Shed offered just non-perishable food items. It was quickly determined that co-workers had additional needs, so the committee began personal items and toiletries.

“It’s like a little general store, but it’s all free,” notes Kraft.

“Co-workers often tell me they are grateful to have an opportunity to go to the Sharing shed,” says Ecumenical Executive Director Gwen O’Neal. “They don’t have to ask anyone and don’t have to feel ashamed. Everyone takes just what they need and is very respectful.”

To raise money to purchase items, the committee held a car wash, sub sale and a wildly successful peanut butter egg sale during the Easter season.

Kraft says, “They really have a sweet tooth and a generous heart at Ecumenical.”

O’Neal says there is a need for the Sharing Shed on campus. “We do have co-workers who struggle to make ends meet. This is a way for us to give back to our co-workers who work so hard for our residents.”

To donate shelf life-appropriate canned goods and toiletries for the Sharing Shed, please drop them off at:
Ecumenical Retirement Community
Building 3, front desk
3525 Canby St
Harrisburg, PA 17109


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