SPO began in 2008 as concerned members of the community discussed ways in which we could assist those whose access to healthy produce was limited by a lack of money. Our organization was mentored by Project SHARE as we learned and grew into the organization we are today. SPO achieved nonprofit 501(c)(3) status in January 2014 and is now operated as an independent agency with a board that includes volunteers and clients.
SPO has grown to serve over 600 families per month with our walk in program in addition to site deliveries to nearly 80 other residents. As SPO grew, we formed partnerships with other agencies and organizations including the United Way of Shippensburg, Summit Health Endowment, the Foundation for Enhancing Communities and Shippensburg University.
Our mission is to continue to meet the needs of the Shippensburg community as the cost of fresh produce continues to rise. We have developed partnerships with local agencies such as the Central PA Food Bank, Aldi of Shippensburg, SU Farm, the Gleaning Project of South Central PA and area farmers so that we can accept donations of excess harvest, glean fields after harvest and purchase additional produce as needed.
We are supported in our efforts by local churches and organizations that donate both monetarily and of their time every Tuesday to gather, bag and distribute the produce. Currently, we have volunteers from local churches and organizations, as well as Shippensburg University student volunteers.
We also provide information and take applications for the Senior Boxes under the guidelines of the Department of Agriculture and provide information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Senior Boxes are distributed to eligible recipients on the 3rd and 4th Tuesday of each month.
Our current goal is to acquire lean meat and fresh dairy to distribute to members of our community who meet federal guidelines of poverty. Due to budget constraints, many of our clients chose food that is filling rather than nutritious. Our plan is to provide at least five pounds of meat each month for each of our households in addition to fresh dairy products.