For almost 40 years, Benzie Area Christian Neighbors (BACN) have offered food, clothing, and education to the Benzie area community.
But more recently, they’re working on expanding.
“I think the funny piece right now is people will say, ‘Oh I see you, what’s going on at BACN?’,” said BACN Executive Director Gerri VanAntwerp.
It’s a new building—a project BACN says they’ve needed since they’ve been growing.
“For many years, we have struggled with this building,” said VanAntwerp. “We were investing a lot of funding in taking care and the maintenance of this facility.”
With this new building, which sits right in front of their old building, they’re also hoping to add new resources to help the community.
“We have several programs that will be coming under the BACN umbrella: Blessings in a Backpack, we do senior groceries,” said VanAntwerp. “The new building will allow us to manage some of those outreach programs, and it will also help us to grow our education piece.”
VanAntwerp says the new building is larger, and will be able to hold more space to be creative with the resources they offer.
“We can be innovative, we could change things up for our pantry shopping and offer some dignity and respect in that space that we can’t really offer here,” she said. “I think the volunteers will have an easier time of helping us, also.”
The total project is about $3.5 million, which was all donated by supporters.
“We were really fortunate that we are walking out of this project debt free ,” said VanAntwerp. “That’s really critical for an organization like this to be able to put all their efforts, all of their funding into services that will benefit our neighbors.”
Construction is expected to be completed late summer or early fall.