What they do: Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger (BSCAH) is one of the largest direct providers of emergency food and related services currently working to break cycles of poverty in New York City. What sets them apart from similarly missioned organizations is that they focus on dignity and empowerment, and each year, the BSCAH closes the hunger gap for thousands of families who are struggling. Whether it is through their benefits access programs, urban farming/farmers markets, internship programs for youth, or daily access to needed food, these connections are invaluable for families and entire communities at large. For individuals and families who have historically been unable to provide for themselves independently, a trip to BSCAH for emergency food has the possibility to turn into a major shift in empowerment. For this, they have earned longstanding trust among their most at-risk neighbors.
How they do it: Their major issues of focus are eliminating the hunger gap, attacking the barriers to healthy eating and good nutrition and empowerment of their low-income neighbors to foster healthy eating. They provide 30,000 meals per month through their Superchoice and Mobile Food Pantry. They operate a Direct Service Center and a Mobile Service RV. BSCAH operates two Urban Agro Educational Centers that serve as outdoor classrooms and produce close to 30,000 pounds of food per year for the community. These urban farms are youth-led and largely run by their Teens and Young Adults as part of their Green Teens Internship program. Green Teens is a paid apprenticeship for ages 15-22 focused on leadership development, agriculture, small business and nutrition. Their Health 360 program is a cooking and gardening program for senior citizens. They have a free summer camp and after-school program, called Healthy Bloomers, for those ages 4-11. Their Weekend Healthy Snack Service provides free, healthy snacks for youth. Also, their Health Communities Healthy Families program is an intergenerational cooking and nutrition evening dinner event.
Mission: Their mission is to empower and educate their low-income neighbors to lead healthier lives by increasing their access to nutritious food and related resources and by attacking systemic or institutional barriers to good health. They uniquely combine emergency food distribution, social services assistance and supportive, educational, empowerment programs for a variety of ages with a robust urban farming operation.
Latest project/campaign: The Urban Fresh Connect On The Go vehicle is a custom-made refrigerated food delivery vehicle equipped with a mobile food distribution system, benefits access office, storage and cooking facilities. Urban Fresh Connection on the Go will make it possible for the neediest New Yorkers to learn about and take home locally-grown, vitamin-dense fresh produce and nutritious cooking techniques, and be able to enjoy healthy, hot and cold meals. Most importantly, they will have the opportunity to learn about the role such food can play in shaping their lives and keeping chronic, food-related illnesses at bay.
Major Funding: Food Bank NYC, City Harvest, National Grid Foundation, HPNAP, WellCare, Merck Foundation, Levitt Family Foundation, Laurie Tisch Illumination Fund, American Beverage Association
Annual Budget: $4,275,000
Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: They serve 1.3 million meals per year and 25-30,000 per month. They produced 27,000 pounds of produce on their urban farms in 2016 and they raise chickens at two locations. Their farms and farm stands are youth-led and largely managed by their Green Teen Internship Program participants.
Number of staff: 38
Number of volunteers: 150 per week
Year Started: 1998
Director: Dr. Melony Saumuels, Founder and Executive Director
Photo credit: Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger