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  • Rebecca Flach

2023 Annual Report

Updated: Apr 4

2023 saw the end of pandemic food subsidies that many low-income families came to count on. Coupled with extraordinary inflation, already struggling people sought out our Helping Harvest community food assistance program in an effort to stretch their food dollars and ensure their families had enough to eat. The Hope Full Life Center team never wavered in our commitment to offer a helping hand. We blessed hundreds of people last year with our services.

 

What is Hope Full Life Center?

•     Hope Full Life Center (HFLC) is a 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.

 

2023 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 make their own selections and pay for their groceries, but at prices lower than elsewhere. Families save an average of 25% on their groceries a Helping Harvest.


2023 Statistics

•    Helping Harvest sent home $198,000 worth of groceries with low-income families in the area. Since its inception, the charity has sent home more than $1.7 million worth of groceries with struggling families.

•    Helping Harvest has 384 current members. We have served more than 1,860 members since we opened in 2010.

•    107 new families enrolled in Helping Harvest in 2023.

•    Total member shopping visits to Helping Harvest in 2023 was more than 3,000.

•    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. Since inception we have served more than 7,000 individuals and families.

•    258 members are from Albany County, but we also have people travel from Greene, Columbia, Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties to use Helping Harvest.

 

Community Minded

 

•    When we have an over-abundance of food we share it with the Ravena Senior Projects and the Capital City Rescue Mission.

•    We purchase produce from Black Horse Farms, a family farm located in Coxsackie. Black Horse Farms also donates some fruits and vegetables to Helping Harvest.

 

Linda Civill Community Garden

Hope Full Life Center did not open the garden in 2023 due to lack of a water

source. We’re seeking an alternative location for the future.

 

Other 2023 Accomplishments

 

Stretching food dollars further with SNAP

15.5% of sales at Helping Harvest were made using SNAP benefits in 2023.

Members utilize our low prices AND their SNAP benefits to stretch their food budgets even further. We continue to serve many people who don’t qualify for SNAP, but are struggling, and those who refuse to enroll in

public assistance.

 

Continued Access

Helping Harvest is open six days a week for a total of 24 hours, far longer than any food pantry in the area.


Open House

The Center hosted an open house at Helping Harvest in November to give the public and our supporters a chance to see the program in action and learn about our community impacts. Guests also heard about our goals for the future that include longer program hours, delivery service and nutrition education.

 

Face Lift

Helping Harvest got a fresh coat of paint, murals of fruits and vegetables,

new curtains and other décor touches in the fall. Our goal is always to present a pleasant, clean and professional environment for our members.

 

Blessing Bags

During the Christmas season we gave away 75 Blessing Bags to families in need. The boxes were full of household paper products and cleaning supplies, which are not covered by SNAP benefits. We also included some festive holiday food items.


Generous individual donors and local businesses, Allphase Masonry & Chimney; B.W. Property Care; TCI of NY, LLC; New Scotland Paving & Excavating; employees of Nolan Propane; Heart Ear Boutique and Charles Hite & Daughter, Professional Land Surveyors, made the Blessing Bag project possible.


We identified plenty of need with Helping Harvest members and most of the bags were distributed there, however, 12 bags ultimately went to the food pantry at St. Patrick’s Church. 2023 marked the sixth year Hope Full Life Center ran the Blessing Bag program during the Christmas season.

 

Volunteers

A core group of 20 volunteers and staff kept Helping Harvest running in 2023. Volunteers from STARS Intergen helped us pack the Blessing Bags in December. In total, volunteers spent 1,560 hours of their time assisting Helping Harvest’s operations last year.

 

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; GPS Metro, LLC and CDPHP. Save A Lot, Trader Joe’s, TCI of NY, LLC and Essendant donated groceries and cleaning supplies to us throughout the year. Sfoglini Pasta donated pasta to us. Persico Hardware donated the paint needed for our Helping Harvest facelift last fall. They also donated lots of cleaning products. Thanks to our landlord, Flach Development & Realty, we pay extremely low rent. Flach Crane & Rigging let us use a forklift and driver to unload trucks several times. We are grateful to each of these organizations who believe in our work and who help us walk out our mission.

 

The Center was also the grateful recipient of grants from the Stewart’s

Holiday Match, Bank of Greene County Charitable Foundation, Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Alexander & Marjorie Hover Memorial Foundation and SABIC.

 

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 their purchases, 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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