Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Secrets to a long, happy life – from a volunteer 90 years young

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Ms. Gibson (left) has been volunteer with SHARE for 22 years!
A 90th birthday party is rare indeed – and one held at the warehouse of Catholic Charities’ SHARE Food Network is even more uncommon. But the guest of honor, Ms. Elizabeth Gibson, would have it no other way.

For the past 22 years, since SHARE began in 1990, the warehouse has been Ms. Gibson’s second home. And the SHARE community – whether staff, volunteers, or people needing access to healthy, affordable food – has been her second family.

What keeps her going? A simple, daily wish: “Every day I try to do something that makes someone else’s day a little better.”

“We all love Ms. Gibson here,” said Chris Byrd, SHARE Coordinator. “When people come to pick up their food, they just brighten up when they see her. And all of us who work here do the same. She has a great spirit, great sense of camaraderie, and a wonderful passion for helping others.”

Birthday Card from the SHARE family
Ms. Gibson assists with SHARE’s weekend food distribution each month, and helps run SHARE’s Market Day – when surplus food from distribution is sold at cut rates – each Monday following distribution. She also prepares a homemade lunch on Market Days, knowing that staff and volunteers are tired from working long and early hours for the weekend distribution.

And that’s just what Ms. Gibson did on her birthday, August 27, which happened to fall on a SHARE Market Day: make, and serve, a hot lunch for others.

“When I woke up today, I told God I’d be grateful if I could serve another lunch to everyone at SHARE. And here I am.”

Over her decades of involvement with SHARE, Ms. Gibson has also served on the Friends of SHARE Advisory Committee and received two SHARE volunteer awards. A retired dietician, Ms. Gibson also helps SHARE enhance its monthly menu with new, healthy foods.

To celebrate her continued commitment to SHARE, staff shared a slice of birthday cake with all who showed up at the warehouse for Market Day and presented Ms. Gibson with a special birthday card signed by volunteers and staff at SHARE.
Ms. Gibson (center) holds birthday letter from Gov. O'Malley
Ms. Gibson also received birthday letters from Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Mayor Petrella A. Robinson of Ms. Gibson’s hometown, North Brentwood, MD, thanking her for her years of service not only to SHARE but also other community organizations.

“Each day I just feel gratitude and happiness to be able to help others,” she said.

Thank you, Ms. Gibson, for sharing your kindness and grace with Catholic Charities – you are a true blessing to us and all those whom we serve!

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SHARE is open to everyone, whether you want to save money at the store or volunteer like Ms. Gibson! Learn more here on SHARE’s new webpages