The term”working poor”, working families that just do not seem to get ahead in the unstable economy and those that are unable to receive traditional assistance are the most under served population in America, often falling through the cracks of a system that helps the destitute, welfare, very at risk but offers no assistance to those who, though employed, are struggling daily to make ends meet. Living pay check to pay check, many working families, individuals and seniors are struggling due to a variety of circumstances and situations.
BCS food co-operative pantry offers its clients a unique model of non-profit services. The BCS goal is to help working families struggling through the economy, in financial crisis and in food-insecure households; families who may not qualify for traditional support services but need help getting back on their feet. Families who use BCS pay a monthly nominal membership fee of $85 dues, much like the model of Costco and receive weekly a full cart of a wide range of healthy, fresh foods, non-perishable foods, toiletries and numerous other items every week. Families receive about $200-$300 worth of provisions each week, shop and fill one of our shopping carts, feeding their families high quality foods. In return, we invite and require that clientele families get involved and volunteer on a rotation basis as we serve one another. They also attend interesting and informative workshops facilitated by professionals that are designed to move them forward, also giving them the tools they need to get their finances back in order. BCS food co-operative pantry operates not just as a charity handing out supplies. It also operates a social change model that preserves the dignity of its members by actually involving them to serve one another when they volunteer.
We provide healthy, nutritious and nourishing groceries, farm fresh produce, toiletries, household goods, adult educational classes and resources that are designed to help these families move forward. Many working families are in financial crisis in food insecure households and simply cannot afford the wholesome, nutritious fresh foods to feed their family. By offsetting/eliminating their weekly grocery bills as their main grocer, this allows families to save crucial monies to pay their monthly bills and expenses, pay down debt, medical bills, make essential repairs and offset the consequences of their circumstances. Bentley Community Services, being unable to serve all of the families referred to it, reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to determine, on a case by case basis, families that qualify for the program. We have an application process to fulfill.
We are financially responsible, practice food sustainability and believe in the accountability model of food assistance, involving families in the process of checking, sorting and preparing foods for our distribution efforts after our truck returns from our pickups, bringing back high quality, diverse foods and goods from our generous providers. Our desire is to provide a hand up, not a hand out and serve families that have the will to change their situation. BCS’ unique model of service delivery is founded on a belief that true charity comes from empowering each individual to restore his or her capacity to be self-sufficient, and that the most effective way to accomplish this process is within the context of a community in which participants work together to attain their goals.
BCS picks up donations from generous grocers, individuals, farms, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, dairies, bakeries and restaurants on a schedule. We divert truly high quality foods that would otherwise end up in the landfill and re-direct these goods into the households that certainly could use them. We serve as a re-distributor of donated product, redistributing donated surplus food and basic needs through a program in which each clientele family provides a few hours on a rotation basis offering helping hands in volunteer service in support of BCS operations helping keep costs down. The innovative BCS program uses a “self-help” model in which the beneficiaries are also partners in running the organization. By providing this avenue of exchange, community, connection and accountability, we foster responsibility, caring and community.
Practicing food sustainability, we keep good foods out of the landfill, addressing food waste and hunger as we currently handle 16-18 tons of foods monthly. When we have surplus of certain product, we donate to other agencies by inviting them to pick up at our location, providing nourishment and sustenance to their vulnerable populations, as we help feed many additional families from numerous communities.