Each quarter, GreenStar selects three local not-for-profits to be the recipients of our Bring Your Own Bag, Use It for Good program donations. Our BYOB program encourages shoppers to bring their own bags while at the same time allowing them to contribute to worthy community organizations. For each reusable bag brought in, a customer is provided with a token worth 5¢ that they can donate to one of the chosen organizations. At the end of the quarter, we make a donation to the groups based on the number of tokens given by our customers. This quarter, our recipients are the SPCA of Tompkins County, Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming, and Loaves & Fishes.

Loaves & Fishes of Tompkins County provides a place for free meals, hospitality, companionship and advocacy for those in need regardless of their faith, beliefs, or circumstances. All are welcome; there are no eligibility requirements. When you walk through the door of host site St. John’s Episcopal Church, you will find lots of friendly people and a delicious, healthy “home-cooked” meal. You are welcome to get second and third servings, and a vegan option is always on offer. One meal is served each weekday, including on all holidays except Thanksgiving.

Loaves & Fishes is Tompkins County’s only community kitchen serving free meals Monday – Friday. For 36 years, they have offered Tompkins County residents a welcoming community where guests can share a “home-cooked” meal with others and receive practical assistance and support when needed. Last year they served over 33,000 meals. Currently, they are serving an average of 140 free meals each day and over 2,800 each month.

The daily nutritious free meal and advocacy program is made possible by 25 to 30 kindhearted volunteers. Most are kitchen volunteers who prepare, serve, and clean up after the meal, but some are trained advocacy volunteers. They offer guests non-judgmental, practical support and linkage to social service resources. Additionally, over 25 agencies provide direct outreach to guests during meal times. This includes outreach from Child & Family Services, Catholic Charities, NY Law, Ithaca Free Clinic and, Challenge Workforce Solutions.

GreenStar Cooperative Market has been a community partner with Loaves & Fishes since their beginning in 1983. They also recently teamed up with GreenStar Community Projects, Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County, and Cornell Federal Credit Union to develop and create the Esty Street Community Garden. Loaves & Fishes remains grateful to Tompkins County residents and businesses for their steadfast support and participation. For more information email info@loaves.org or phone 607-272-5457.

GreenStar is pleased to be a part of supporting Loaves & Fishes and their mission here in Tompkins County!

Are you involved with a not-for-profit organization that might benefit from our Bring Your Own Bag, Use It for Good program? Apply here.