Co-op Food Program
The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank is unique in operating a Food Co-operative program for low-income individuals and families. Members join the co-op and contribute $9 per month and volunteer 4 hours per month, either at the food bank or in the wider community. Members receive food pick-ups every two weeks to supplement their regular grocery budget.
Co-op membership offers opportunities for skill development and personal growth. Co-op participants assist Food Bank staff to carry out many duties including helping in the warehouse repacking and restocking shelves. The Co-op offers opportunities for members to prepare for the job market.
Participants who use the services of the Food Bank are welcome to give back of their time. In the past, participants provided over 20,000 hours of work per year; the equivalent of 10 full-time employees help to operate the Food Bank.
Purpose: Members of the co-op are offered bi-monthly food picks ups which supplement their regular grocery budget.
Additional programs supported by Co-op Staff:
Gift of Sight
This program is financially supported by Lens Crafters. Lens Crafters has been partnering with the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank dedicated to restoring and preserving clear vision to those in need. Individuals who need glasses and have no eye coverage elsewhere will receive a referral letter from the co-op staff for free glasses/eye exam from Lens Crafters.
Under the guidance of a co-op staff 12 garden plots are provided free of charge to co-op members and at a rate of $30 per year for community members. Co-op staff arrange for the water to be turned on by the city and trouble shoot issues that gardeners may encounter.
This programs offers co-op members and community members the opportunity to make crafts in a group environment. This group meets twice per month and the crafts that are made are donated back to the co-op program for sale. All revenues are put back into the craft program. A community volunteer hosts and oversees the group sessions.
Offered twice per year, six ½ day workshops are offered to individuals interested in taking on Mentor roles within the food bank. Mentors are assigned specific roles and provide leadership to other co-op members volunteering within the food bank.