BACN Helps Those in Need During COVID-19
While stores and restaurants are starting to get back into the swing of things, the Benzie Area Christian Neighbors has not slowed down its work for the community.
“I think, if anything, this pandemic taught us there’s a great need for BACN,” said Executive Director Gerri Van Antwerp.
“We can usually offer a variety of fresh produce or milk and dairy products, laundry detergent, some limited diapers and baby formula, and toiletries,” said Director of Development Kelly Ottinger. “We just try to ask when people call in, we let them know what’s available what they can pick and choose from in addition to that staple bag.”
Other resources that BACN offers have either moved online or over the phone.
“The adult learning lab with MichiganWorks! opens July 8. A lot of that will be online adult learning, but they’ll still need to register to do testing,” Van Antwerp said. “Financial assistance is available over the phone so as energy needs happen, we may need to assist folks and we can accommodate them over the phone.”
Additionally, BACN has started taking clothing and linen donations for its clothing center on Saturdays from 9 to 12 p.m. They’re looking for people to volunteer to help sort clothes, too.
“There’s a myriad of jobs,” Van Antwerp said. “You can answer the phone for us you can pack bags right now. There’s a lot of people that aren’t working right now or are just off for the summer, school teachers and students, that might be just interested in coming by and giving us a helping hand.”
This is also the eleventh year for BACN’s annual Summer Match campaign. The John L. Mulvaney Foundation promises a dollar for dollar match up to $50,000 for BACN to continue their services.
Van Antwerp says the summer match is big for them—and for community members who want to donate.
“It’s really exciting because we have community residents call and say ‘is the match on, have we started, has it kicked off?”
BACN said there’s been an outpouring of generosity from the community.
“People really come out to support their neighbors,” Ottinger said. “They know people have lost jobs, and they could be a long term situation and they’re being very generous.”
You can find more information about BACN and their programs here.