The Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger is the largest emergency feeding program in New York City, providing the basic staples of a well-balanced diet to more than 12,000 unduplicated, low-income individuals a month from over 170 zip codes throughout the city. In 2013, BSCAH provided enough food to make over 2.9 million meals and have provided over 18,000 community residents with health education. Rather than handing out pre-packaged grocery items, BSCAH allows its clients to select fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and other staple items according to their preferences - much as they would in a supermarket. Because of this set-up, many children don’t know they are at a pantry.
If you want to connect with the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, you can find them online here:
STATE: How did BSCAH get started?
BSCAH: BSCAH was started by Dr. Melony Samuels 16 years ago in a church basement, serving only 50 families each month. Today, we are a non-sectarian operation serving 2.9 million meals annually to New Yorkers in need. Our monthly average is about 27,000.
STATE: In addition to providing food to the hungry, what other programs do you offer to your clients?
BSCAH: We offer a menu of wrap-around services to combat poverty and hunger. In addition to our pantry services we screen and enroll families in affordable healthcare and SNAP (formerly food stamps.) We operate an after-school and summer program for students geared towards nutrition and urban farming, we operate a state of the art urban farming program which employs sustainable technology and produces over 30,000 pounds of food each year.
Our farm is also home to a sliding scale farmer’s market and community education classes and workshops. We offer resume assistance, linkages and referrals to other community based organizations, job placement assistance, provisions of (new) clothing and household items and during the tax season we prepare and file income taxes for poor and working class families at no cost. This tax season we processed over one million dollars of refunds for our neighbors.
STATE: How can those who live in the community get involved?
Great question! We have been extremely successful in a small space and with a small staff. We credit much of our success to our over 200 volunteers which help us tremendously each year. We welcome and treasure volunteers, they can contact our volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also rely on community support for operating costs. A number of local businesses and other organizations have hosted fundraisers for us and a huge number of our neighbors make donations. We are happy to accept tax-deductible monetary gifts of any size. Lastly, a popular activity is the virtual food drive. Instead of our neighbors dropping off heavy cans of food, many of them organize virtual food drives through www.yougivegoods.com
. The funds go straight to our distributor and the items are shipped directly to our office. We love this program because our supporters’ dollars can go so much further when they get our wholesale price - and since it’s virtual people from all over the world can help!