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2021 Annual Report

Updated: Feb 17

A recap of how Hope Full Life Center walked out its mission in 2021


Caring for the needy in Southern Albany County was our goal in 2021 as uncertainty and fear driven by COVID-19 continued. State and federal emergency benefits aided many families who count on our services, but as food prices crept higher and higher due to inflation we were there to help people stretch their food dollars. Hope Full Life Center blessed hundreds of people last year through Helping Harvest, its community food assistance program.


What is Hope Full Life Center?

• Hope Full Life Center (HFLC) is the hands-on ministry of Abounding Love Christian Fellowship.

• The organization assists the needy in Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk and throughout southern Albany County and the surrounding region through Helping Harvest, a community food assistance program that encourages self-sufficiency.

• HFLC is a 501(C)3 not-for-profit corporation founded in 2012.

• HFLC oversees Helping Harvest and the Linda Civill Community Garden.

• Mission Statement: Hope Full Life Center empowers people. Activated by compassion, our multi-faceted outreach provides a helping hand, not a hand-out, to improve life for our neighbors.


2021 Program Highlights


Helping Harvest Helping Harvest is a community food assistance program for families struggling to put food on the table. It functions like a grocery store. Our members can make their own selections and “check out” with a donation. Families save an average of 50% on their groceries at

Helping Harvest.

2021 Statistics

• Helping Harvest sent home an estimated $140,000 worth of groceries with low-income families in the area.

• Helping Harvest has 299 current members. We have served more than 1,500 individuals and families since we opened in 2010.

• 91 new families enrolled in Helping Harvest in 2021.

• Total member shopping visits to Helping Harvest in 2021 was nearly 2,000.

• When we add members and all the people in their households, Helping Harvest assists nearly 1,000 people in the area with food and nutrition.

• Many members are from Ravena, Coeymans and Selkirk, but we have people travel from as far away as Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady and points south to use Helping Harvest.


Community Minded

When we have an over-abundance of food we share it with the Ravena Senior Projects, Teen Challenge, the Capital City Rescue Mission and area food pantry programs.

We support Capital Roots, a Troy-based not-for-profit, through the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables weekly.


Linda Civill Community Garden

Due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 we did not open the community garden in 2021.


Other 2021 Accomplishments


Stretching food dollars further with SNAP

Helping Harvest began to accept SNAP, the federal supplemental food assistance program (formerly known as food stamps) in February. Now members can benefit from our low prices AND use their SNAP benefits to stretch their food budgets even further.

More Access

In September we extended the hours in Helping Harvest to include Mondays and Tuesdays from 10-2. This gives our members even more access to the program.


Workforce Training Success Story

A young volunteer with special needs “graduated” to full-time employment at the local grocery store in October thanks to workforce training he received at Helping Harvest. The Center has worked with human services agencies for many years to provide workforce preparedness skills.


Events & Special Projects

Blessing Boxes

During the Christmas season we gave away 87 Blessing Boxes to families in need. The boxes were full of kitchen staples such as pasta and sauce, tuna fish, peanut butter, canned fruit and other foods that offered a variety of flavors and nutrition. This year we also included dish soap and household paper products.


Generous individual donors and several local businesses, including Anatriello Agency Inc.; Charles Hite & Daughter, Professional Land Surveyors; Grace Chapel; Halsted Outdoor Supply; HEARt Ear Boutique; National Bank of Coxsackie; Persico Oil Co, Inc.; Persico True Value Hardware and TCI of NY, LLC, made the Blessing Box project possible.


The Ravena Branch of the Bank of Greene County helped us promote the Blessing Boxes and accepted donations for the Abounding Love Christian Fellowship’s youth group, LAUNCH, helped us pack the boxes.


We identified plenty of need with Helping Harvest members and most of the boxes were distributed there, however, 20 boxes went to the food pantry at St. Patrick’s Church. 2021 marked the fourth year Hope Full Life Center ran the Blessing Box program during the Christmas season.


Safety

The Center and Helping Harvest continued to follow the CDC’s guidelines for health and safety to protect our members and volunteers from COVID-19. Our team followed rigorous cleaning protocols to disinfect frequently touched surfaces. We continued

the mask requirements and social distancing for staff and Helping Harvest members.


Volunteers


• A core group of 14 volunteers and staff kept Helping Harvest running in 2021.

• Albany Adult and Teen Challenge provided us with help on food delivery days as often as possible in 2021. We depend on their student’s strong backs and energy to help us with labor intensive projects.

• Other organizations that usually supply us with volunteers, including RCS Central School District and the Albany County Community Justice Outreach Center, were still unable to do so in 2021.

• We also missed hosting groups of students affiliated with STARS Intergen who do service projects at Helping Harvest. We hope to welcome them back in 2022.


Grants and Donations


HFLC generates the bulk of its operating income from individual donations. However, the charity was grateful to receive donations from the Port of Coeymans, P&M Brick, Curaleaf of New York LLC and other businesses in the community, including HEARt Ear Boutique. Save A Lot and Trader Joes donated groceries to us throughout the year. Thanks to our landlord, Flach Development & Realty, we pay extremely low rent. We are grateful to each of these organizations who believe in our work and who help us walk out our mission.


Impact


Hope Full Life Center is proud of the services we provide and how we deliver them. We don’t just give struggling families in the RCS community access to low-cost food, we supply a benefit far less tangible - dignity.


The Center’s staff and volunteers strive to offer a clean, friendly, professionally operated program where customers can make selections to suit their individual tastes and needs. Through modest donations, customers contribute to their well-being and ensure the survival of the programs for others.


We are inspired by our fellow volunteers and the people we serve. We lean on Matthew 25:35-40 for direction: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”


Respectfully submitted,


Rebecca Flach Executive Director





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