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SHARE-WS Cooperative | May 2020
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THE SHARE CHRONICLE

OUR STORY
Monthly Edition  |  May 2020
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The Cutting Edge


As we continue to adjust to the "New Normal" of life during COVID-19, SHARE also continues to highlight those organizations who are engaged in another type of "New Normal": kindness, charity and acceptance for those in need of help. That's why, this month, we're highlighting the cutting edge and caring work of Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods!

Building Stronger Communities, Virtually

Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods has been a mainstay in the Winston-Salem community for decades, but for those who aren't familiar, they focus on building stronger, sustainable communities with an approach that is resident-led, that uses the resources already existing in the community, and that promotes a lens of racial equity. 

During COVID-19, NBN has committed to connecting community members with a variety of different aid resources through avenues as varied as social media to phone and video conferencing. As we at SHARE have often mentioned, low-income individuals and people are color are being disproportionately impacted by this pandemic, so the vital work that NBN and other groups like them are doing for local communities is wonderful to see. 

Recently, NBN also announced a grant program awarding up to $1000 for organizations involved in food support, health care, emergency housing, emergency financial assistance, work with the elderly, and general COVID-19 related assistance. Check out their website for more info about who qualifies and how to apply!

 
       

Sowing the Seeds of Cooperation
As May comes to a close, we at SHARE have been reflecting on not only the realities of the past few months, but also the expectations that we had publicized at the outset of 2020.

As this year began, we were confident that our Harvest Market would open on June 1st. Of course, even our best-laid plans did not prepare us for the pandemic that ensued. The question becomes, how do we proceed both safely and assuredly to open the Harvest Market before 2020's end? 

Fundraising for the Future

With the commencement of Phase II, SHARE staff has re-entered the office, but we are also rigorously following social distancing and facemask guidelines. Currently, our greatest need remains securing the necessary funds to open the Harvest Market. To that end, throughout both April and May, we have solicited grants from sources as wide-ranging as local foundations to federal government entities.

While we won’t hear from many of these grants until the fall, we have already heard back positively from some of the grants that we applied for in March, which makes us encouraged and excited for the future!
 
SHARE staff are also pushing ahead on setting up our online sales platform. Jaris Johnson, our computer wizard and graduate of Winston-Salem State’s Masters Program in Information Technology, has been working closely with a local software company to install our Point of Sale system so that we can electronically sell fresh, affordable food before the summer’s end! 
 
If the first half of this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can plan for the future, but we can’t predict it. We at SHARE are continuing to plan and continuing to act so that this pandemic—long as it might last—will not stop us from the mission that Reverends Bass and Williams first dreamt up four years ago. 
 
We ask for your patience and support, and as always, stay safe and healthy! 



Your friends at,

SHARE Cooperative
Small businesses of color need support now more than ever, but—in many cases—we’re not receiving the loans that we need from federal government programs. We know that times are tough, but we ask for your help and your support as we move towards opening our Harvest Market.
"
 
The Reverend's Corner
 
"If the first half of this year has taught us anything, it's that we can plan for the future, but we can't predict it," says Peter Schlachte, the AmeriCorps VISTA with SHARE. What words of wisdom from one of our young social justice advocates whose eyes are wide open and whose heart works diligently to move the arc of life toward justice every day!

So, during this historic moment, we must consider whether we want to sustain the models that are bringing us to a post-pandemic world. The "Old Normal" forced centuries of racial, social and economic injustice on people of color, low-income Americans, and other vulnerable communities. This legacy of sustained inequality has come to bear, on our communities—yet again—are hit hardest. If we don't push for real change, those disparities will only be compounded in the months and years to come. 

Right now, we have an opportunity to re imagine a new model—a "New Normal"—that protects our residents equitably and brings us closer to the ideals of equality and justice. 

During this crisis, many Americans continue to lead with these good values in their individual actions. In recent months, the number of crowdfunding campaigns has exploded, and Americans have donated millions of dollars to help their neighbors and community members pay for hospital bills, rent, groceries, and other basic needs. These heartwarming stories reveal our interconnectedness and our capacity to lead with our values, but they also reveal our current government's inaction to radically reform our institutions and systems to support those among us who are most in need.

For decades, conservative leaders have raised the specter of budget deficits to defend steep budget cuts to federal support programs, choosing instead to line the pockets of wealthy corporations and their CEOs. But over the past few months, as the economic impact of the pandemic has been realized, both political parties of the federal government have been essentially forced to provide some aid to Americans. After decades of fighting federal assistance to maintain the status quo, the truth has emerged: our government can respond swiftly and decisively in an effort to protect its people. It simply has chosen not to. 

This pandemic has irrevocably changed our country and our communities. It has revealed how badly our systems need change, but equally importantly, it has shown us the power of human resilience, innovation, and solution-making in the absence of a people-driven government.

Going back to the "Old Normal" would be a disservice to us all. Going forward, let's strive to create a country that values all human life equally and provides safeguards and solutions to mitigate the suffering and injustice of "business as usual." Our country isn't a business, and we find ourselves at this crossroads largely because of the business-driven models that prioritize corporate well being over safety, equity and the welfare of all people.

We need and deserve more equitable systems—and we need new people at the helm to drive that change. Those who have been disproportionately affected by this crisis, whether due to racial and ethnic health disparities or poverty, and those who are working on the front lines right now and suffering physically and emotionally, know firsthand the changes we need. Their lived experiences and perspectives are critically needed, at every level of leadership, to shape a people-focused government that prioritizes and protects us. 

Therefore, we can only be better if we do better. We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines if we want real change. All of us must organize and make our voices heard at all levels of government. It's time for us to create the change we want to see by making civic engagement central to our lives.

Meanwhile, here at home, SHARE Cooperative is also organizing and making our voice heard. As we speak, our inaugural Harvest Market Board of Directors has completed initial orientation, attended several virtual training webinars for co-op leadership, and has established the first working committees: 
  • The Logistics Development Committee
  • Resource and Development Committee
  • Farmers and Community Gardeners Committee
  • Community Relations Committee
Each board member has been connected to the committee that fits their skillset and passion for engagement. They have begun to work on each of the immediate Harvest Market needs. You will have the opportunity to meet them at our virtual June Members Meeting.

As you know, we are moving forward with the opening of the Harvest Market by installing our online buying service in the coming months. However, we need our members to continue making direct investments and loans to SHARE Cooperative and the Harvest Market. Contact us for information regarding how you can support this immediate need!

Let's lift up the voices of those who have struggled unfairly while living amid systems that neglect their health, safety, and well-being. Let's think creatively about what we can all do to create a justice-focused New Normal—for all of us. And let's rid our system of those that stand in the way of equity and justice by committing to a New Normal.  Join us at the SHARE Cooperative as we establish our own New Normal of providing healthy, nutritious and affordable food in a just community right here in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, North Carolina.


Rev. Willard Bass
Co-founder

Philippians 2:14 (KJV)

Interested in our Preferred Shares Program? Contact Ralph Peeples at peeplera@share-ws.org or (336) 283-3299! 
 
Visit us at 603 Peters Creek Parkway and follow us on social media! 
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SHARE Cooperative of Winston-Salem, NC
Our email address is:

info@Share-WS.coop
office: 336-283-3299
www.share-ws.coop 

 
Copyright © 2020 SHARE Cooperative of Winston-Salem, NC, All rights reserved.


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