Brown Bag Ministry (BBM), a nonprofit organization that operates out of St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Apex, is one of 51 finalists in the Fourth Annual Tom’s of Maine “50 States for Good” initiative. BBM has a chance to win up to $50,000 in support of its mission to serve the homeless and those living in poverty throughout the Triangle.
Through a public vote at www.Facebook.com/TomsofMaine “Cast your Vote” now through Oct. 9, local and state residents can help bring funding to the Triangle with the simple click of a mouse by choosing either “North Carolina” or “Brown Bag Ministry” and voting.
The public vote will determine six winning organizations to share $150,000 in funding. The organization with the most public support will receive $50,000, while five additional organizations will each receive $20,000.
The “50 States for Good” initiative seeks to uncover local nonprofit groups that address urgent community needs and engage volunteers to get the work done. Brown Bag Ministry, is a wholly volunteer organization. On an annual basis they package and distribute over 115,000 brown bag lunches and provide hot lunches to over 5,400 homeless individuals and those living in poverty in the Triangle area.
Nonprofits from each state were selected by an independent panel of judges featuring actor and environmentalist Ian Somerhalder, Laura Burge of the social action network Care2.com, philanthropic leader and Huffington Post columnist Lisa M. Dietlin and Sam Davidson, president of Cool People Care.
Apex resident David Legarth, BBM chairman, explained how important the funding is for the nonprofit.
“In the past four years we’ve seen individual donations decrease and have become more reliant on corporate donations and community grants to fund our mission. It’s important for our donors to know that BBM is a wholly volunteer organization, so every donated dollar goes into meeting the needs of those individuals that we serve,” he said.
How it all started
In March 2005, Mary Jo Bukowski, a parishioner of St. Andrew and Patricia Hartley, a parishioner at St. Catherine of Siena in Wake Forest, felt moved to action by the biblical call to “Feed the Poor.”
They went to Moore Square in downtown Raleigh with 25 brown bag lunches to hand out and seven years later, the ministry has grown to providing over 2,250 brown bag lunches every Saturday of the year around the Triangle.
BBM’s expanded mission includes providing to those marginalized; food, water, clothing, shelter, and friendship; to counsel them on becoming independent; and to be vocal advocates for those who do not have a voice.
Equally as important, BBM provides volunteer opportunities for children and adults in the area to serve and interact with those in need.
“National volunteer organizations, church and youth groups, boy scouts and girl scouts, Y-tribes, businesses, families and individuals come together at BBM to serve those in need,” said Legarth. “We are especially proud that a family can serve together at BBM, because even the youngest child, a 2 or 3 years old, can put a banana in a brown bag. After our volunteers are finished at Moore Square, they all have a more compassionate view of the needy.”
For more information about BBM, volunteer and donation opportunities, and a link to the competition vote site visit www.brownbagministry.org. You can vote daily!