The Bucks County Opportunity Council has been assisting individuals and communities in need since 1965 when then President Lyndon Johnson declared his “War on Poverty.”
This not-for-profit organization is part of a national network of more than 1,000 agencies across the country dedicated to ending poverty by providing resources that encourage economic self-sufficiency.
All of the BCOC sponsored programs are notable, but their food enterprise is truly extraordinary.
A new project, “Cultivating with CARE” (Community Agriculture Redistributed Equitably), is a multi-faceted initiative producing more than 10,000 pounds of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables.
BCOC’s Volunteer and Community Connections Manager Eileen Hartnett Albillar detailed the project and agency’s growth.
“We’ve doubled our efforts to bring local produce to the BCOC food pantry network by offering volunteer opportunities four mornings every week at local farms,” said Albillar. “From planting seeds and weeding, harvesting and delivering food, our volunteer opportunities run the gamut of the food chain that gets food on tables of those who need help.”
BCOC provides food to more than 70 food pantry partners and volunteers are critical to ensuring nothing goes to waste.
“Tomato plants, beans, squash and corn seeds we have planted over the last couple of weeks will be in the food pantries, but it takes many hands to tend to these plants and harvest,” she said. “Community volunteers, business or school groups, regardless of their experience or expertise, can help with growing and harvesting food for the food pantry network with us.”
During the 2020-2021 year the network distributed 3.5 million pounds of food, delivered 4,520 senior food boxes, accommodated 69,880 visits to the food pantry and an additional 31,547 visits via their free farmers market as part of the Fresh Connect program.
Fresh Connect is a collaboration of BCOC, Philabundance, Rolling Harvest Food Rescue, and St. Mary Medical Center, along with generous funding by the United Way of Bucks County. Every week Fresh Connect provides food for 44,000 Bucks County residents facing hunger – 34 percent of whom are children.
With farming locations in both Doylestown and New Hope there’s always something that needs doing and helping hands are always welcome and very much needed. If you would like to volunteer for BCOC’s CARE Program – or any of their other programs – click here.