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About Us

Our Mission Statement

We are dedicated to providing opportunities for Central Linn citizens to give, receive, and learn.


SHARING HANDS started in the early 1980's as a place for parents to exchange clothing and glean crops from local fields. Growing with the need, it became a non-profit corporation in 1982.
Since 1984 Sharing Hands has been a partner agency of the United Way of Linn County which provides a substantial portion of the funding for the Food Bank and Parents & Pals. The balance of the budget comes from Thrift Store sales, program fees, grants and community donations.
The clothing exchange evolved into the THRIFT STORE which now serves the general public. It recycles over 5000 articles of clothing and general household articles monthly and offers them for sale at affordable prices. It is the Brownsville areas only clothing and general store.
The gleaning grew into the FOOD BANK which today is a part of the Oregon Food Bank distribution network. We distribute between 125 and 150 food baskets to low income families each month to help alleviate food insecurity and ensure that their children have a healthy diet.
PACK SNACK is our newest program. It was started about 7 years ago by a Sharing Hands board member working with the local school board, the Halsey Methodist Church and the Central Linn Lions club. Over 100 PackSnacks are distributed for each weekend during the school year to students of low income families to help alleviate their food insecurity.
PARENTS & PALS began in the late 1980's to help offset the reported rise of incidents of child abuse in rural areas. Today if brings parents of young children together for sharing, parenting tips, medical and dental advice, and family resource information while their children participate in playgroup activities.
THE LEARNING TREE PRE-SCHOOL was started in 2004 to meet the needs of children that are preparing to enter kindergarten and are ready to be introduced to curriculum based activities. Students participate in reading readiness, hands - on mathematics, music, art and science as well as learning social skills and problem solving.
CHRISTMAS GREETERS distributes Christmas Dinner baskets to low income households and presents them to seniors and children during the Holiday Season.

Board of Directors

The overall operating policies and supervision of Sharing Hands are the responsibility of a board of directors - three of whom are elected annually for a three-year term. The board meets on the third Tuesday of each month to review the financial, executive director's and program reports, and act on any business brought before it. If you are interested in serving on the Sharing Hands board, call 541-466-3110

Executive Director

Debra S, Gruell

Vice Chairman

Bruce Pearcy


Carolyn Pearce


Wendy Parker


Audrey Borders

Volunteers & Staff

Our dedicated Food Bank and Thrift Store volunteers donate over 500 hours of their time every month counting and sorting clothing and miscellaneous donations, marking and arranging them for display, cashiering, maintaining the premises, receiving and tracking food donations and shipments from Linn Benton Food Share, greeting Food Bank customers, preparing their food baskets, and advising customers about other resources.

Food Bank Coordinator

Bottle Drop Coordinator

Brownsville Learning Tree Preschool

Currently Closed for 2021

Food Bank Volunteers

Parents and Pals Coordinator

Crystal Garcia Westlund

Thrift Store Volunteers

Candace McGuire ~ Judith Bushnell
Debbie Waldie ~ Rose Sears
Cathy McIntyre ~ Linda McManus


Saturday Thrift Store Volunteers

Carolyn Pearce ~ Don Ware
Chenoweth Robertson