Participant families come to the BCS food pantry warehouse distribution facility at 4064 US-1 North, Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852 to shop weekly and pick up food provisions, basic needs products and other essential items that have been determined surplus and is generously donated by local grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, farms, dairies, bakeries and restaurants. With the money participants save on these crucial staples, BCS families are able to pursue goals that move them away from the bankruptcies, evictions, foreclosures that threaten them and on to financial stability. Participant families have the freedom to shop weekly, choose provisions and make decisions based on their own individual family’s needs. They are not just given an emergency box once per month. or two bags of non-perishable items. BCS has high quality foods and a wide range of fresh, healthy perishable provisions.
The BCS Model of Self-Help
“The Dignity of the Exchange” – People in need by and large would prefer to accept help on the condition that they in return give back in some form. For many families in need, struggling pay check to paycheck, the stigma associated with needing help, the stigma of lining up for food and an “emergency box” is profound. It is these feelings that make many families choose not to avail to social services. The financial difficulties of any given family may be due to a wide range of factors, many of them beyond their control. Helping them to identify factors that they do have control of, and enhancing those to overcome the other factors, is a service few agencies provide. Bentley Community Services is one that will.
BCS food pantry believes that true charity is given in a way that allows the recipient to participate in improving his or her circumstances. Each family enrolled at BCS provides a few hours of service on a rotation basis at the BCS warehouse. Their work stocking shelves, sorting and checking foods, processing bakery, flowers, plants and other provisions makes it possible for BCS to keep costs to a minimum.
BENTLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES GUIDELINES AND REMINDERS
A family in need may contact us and also be referred to the BCS program by a current or past participant, companies, businesses, community leaders, other agencies, houses of worship and residents of communities. The referring person is vouching for the character and validity of the family’s situation.
SIGN A GOAL STATEMENT
Each potential clientele family fills out and completes an application where they list goals. A representative of each family completes a Participation Update Form once a year to specify goals accomplished.
COMMIT TO A SHOPPING DAY
Participants choose a shopping day and confirm coming on that day. For the maximum benefit of this program, families come and shop weekly to choose from an ever changing, rather large amount of fresh foods and non-perishable products. Hours of shopping are usually on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 2:00 with last shoppers at 6:30pm. Please check and read weekly Sunday evening group emails.
PAY MONTHLY SERVICE FEE
Each family pays a nominal monthly service fee of $50.00 per month. Service fees are due by the 15th of each month and will be late if not received on or before the last day of the month. This fee pays not for product, but a small portion of the overhead costs as we lease an entire large private property set back off of Route ! for the privacy of our clientele. We have a fully functional warehouse distribution facility. Payment can be made by check or cash when you come to shop or you may mail it to Bentley Community Services, Inc. PO Box 1093, Belle Mead, NJ 08502.
WRITE THANK YOU NOTES
A grateful heart is a critical part of our program. You convey your appreciation to our truly generous providers by writing several thank you notes a month. They are always thrilled to hear from you about how they affect your lives! They truly feel blessed and are so touched by your thank you notes, cards and letters of gratitude and your personal stories.
LEAVING THE PROGRAM?
While we are sad to see you go, we look forward to families being able to leave our program because they have been blessed and goals are met. If you no longer need this program, please inform us by calling, writing or by email. Let us know when and why you are leaving. When we have this written information we will remove you in good standing, eligible to return.
DISTRIBUTION LIMITS Special Note: The items in the BCS warehouse are for participant families only. Please take what your family can use, not neighbors, extended family, etc. This includes everything. (Keep in mind that other families can be referred to our program should they be in need.) If there is an over abundance of something, please ask if you would like to receive extra! The important thing here is to ask. We know how much we have of something so please check with us and ask!
VOLUNTEER HOURS Bentley Community Services is a sustainable program like our mentor organization, Birch Community Services. Your giving back to the organization fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability as we help and serve one another. This is a mandatory part of our program and business model. You may sign up on the family volunteer schedule in the warehouse as a volunteer to help in the food pantry on Saturdays at 10:00AM, Tuesdays at 10:00AM, Wednesdays at 10:00AM, as a volunteer at our food drives, as a volunteer at one of our generous provider farms when help is needed and at other volunteer opportunities that will arise. We are a caring and compassionate community where we share and offer help and assistance to one another.
REFERRALS The backbone of the Bentley program are referring new families into this program. Please fill out and submit the referral form when referring a family. Applications are reviewed on an individual case by case basis. Not all families applying to Bentley are accepted.
Accountability – All BCS families state financial goals to work toward while participating in the program and all are required to attend a financial workshop that assists in learning how to manage their finances and control spending. We will provide a financial seminar to participants at no cost.
Adult Education Program – All BCS families have access to free workshops and courses that will be offered on scheduled dates throughout the year. We also will refer our participating families to other organizations and resources in our communities that may help them, as well. Workshops will be facilitated by professionals giving of their talents and gifts to make a difference, offering their knowledge and expertise in their fields on subjects that have been requested by BCS participants themselves to help facilitate their return to financial self-sufficiency and family stability. They will include workshops on financial literacy/money management, work, life and time managements, preparing wholesome and nutritious meals on a budget; exercise/staying fit, self-defense, home repair, stress management and many other types of interesting and fun classes.
Community Gardens – Learning how to grow – gardens teach families to save money by “growing their own” plus fresh produce is contributed to our own program.