CARLISLE (Cumberland County) -—They come in different sizes, colors, and hold just about anything. It's a cardboard box. But to one Cumberland County organization the cardboard box has a life that that keeps on giving.
Project Share - Carlisle, pardon the pun, is one organization that according to Executive Director Elaine Livas, "Thinks outside the box."
Livas has been running Project Share since the 1980's and takes her love of helping Cumberland County's residents in need of assistance into a self sustainable enterprise.
"We make sure we will make that cardboard into something good to eat," said Livas as she walks Fox 43 through shelves of food that serves over 1000 Cumberland County residents a year.
And yes - for Project Share - cardboard is the pantry's bread and butter.
"You can help the hungry just by what you have in your home," said Livas.
Outside the pantry's loading dock, residents and businesses hand off - boxes by the skid. Each box than makes its way inside to the pantry's warehouse where it's broken down, flattened and tossed into a bailer where boxes are compressed into what else - a 700 hundred pound box of what else - cardboard.
The bails are than recycled - and nets hundreds of dollars each.
Every year - Project Share earns between six to twelve thousand dollars of income just by recycling other people's trash.
The money earned - goes right back into the pantry's pockets and helps keep the pantry's shelves from not going bare.
"People are throwing it away," said Livas. She pointed to the dozen or so bails of cardboard ready to be recycled, "It's a win-win."
Cardboard is like gold at Project Share.
Glen Franklin is a volunteer cardboard bailer.
He turns on the bailer, tosses in a few boxes. He paused, "It's money in the bank."
While it may be money in the bank, Project Share has turned an ordinary box into something that is changing people's lives.
"I'm surprised how much card board is actually worth," said Franklin. He smiled as he picked up and box and said, "I used to through it away - not any more."
Project Share's cardboard donation site is located at the pantry's ware house on North Orange Street in Carlisle. They except donations of corrugated cardboard only every day of the year.