Principle 7: Concern for Community
The Belfast Co-op adheres to the seven international cooperative principles which are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice. Principle 7: Concern for Community, guides cooperatives to work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their owners.
The Belfast Co-op strives to be an active partner in our community. We recognize that practicing good business citizenship supports the mission of our co-op and raises the overall level of social and economic well-being in our community, strengthens ties within the community and provides a local food buying alternative for Belfast.
Community Donations Program
One of the many ways the Belfast Co-op strives to serve our region is through our Community Donations Program. Each month we donate money, food and time to numerous local nonprofits and organizations whose work helps build local resilience.
Interested organizations should complete and return this form:
Community Donations Request Form
Common Cents: In Community We Trust
In addition to our Community Donations Program, we also organize “Common Cents” donations, which allow Belfast Co-op shoppers to round up the total of their purchases to the nearest dollar, donating their extra change to provide support to a highlighted community organization whose work contributes to local resilience. Contributing to “Common Cents” helps us meet our commitments to you, our neighbors, while fostering positive growth in our community. Let your cashier know if you would like to take advantage of this opportunity each time you shop!
Beginning in 2016, selected recipients will receive a full month to accrue support. Recipient organizations for 2016 have been selected based upon how well their mission and goals align with Belfast Co-op’s Ends. Beginning in 2016, the twelve recipients for the following year will be voted on at each year’s Annual Meeting. You can nominate your favorite organization to take part in “Common Cents” by filling our a nomination form and submitting it the next time you are in the Co-op!
January – Belfast Community Television’s mission is to reflect and strengthen the unique spirit and character of Belfast, Maine in order to enrich the lives of residents and visitors in the Midcoast region by fostering communication, free speech, artistic expression as well as creating opportunities through television and other electronic media.
February – WERU is an independent, volunteer powered, listener supported, locally owned & operated community radio station offering diverse noncommercial programming to, for and by the people living in its broadcast service area of Midcoast, Downeast & Central Maine.
March – Coastal Mountains Land Trust permanently conserves land to benefit the natural and human communities of western Penobscot Bay.
April – Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast promotes fundamental change in the justice system and schools. Their responses to crime and wrongdoing seek: renewal & safety for the community, support & healing for the victims, accountability & reintegration for the offender into the community.
May – Avian Haven is a nonprofit wild bird rehabilitation center dedicated to the return of injured & orphaned wild birds of all species to natural roles in the wild.
June – FoodCorps Maine is our state’s chapter of a national nonprofit service organization working to ensure that every child has access to – and positive experiences in – a healthy food environment.
July – The Friends of Belfast Free Library raise and give funds to the Belfast Free Library for book and media purchases and to support programs & projects. The Friends meet monthly Sept-May. Membership applications are available at the library’s main desk.
August – Maine Farmland Trust protects farmland, supports farmers, and advances the future of farming in Maine.
September – The Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (MOFGA) helps farmers and gardeners: grow organic food, fiber and other crops; protect the environment; recycle natural resources; increase local food production; support rural communities; and illuminate for consumers the connection between healthful food and environmentally sound farming practices.
October – The Howard Bowers Fund strengthens the food co-op community by giving grants for training and education of food co-op staff, managers, and board members.
November – The Belfast Soup Kitchen is a nonprofit organization that serves a hot lunch and/or emergency package to those in need Monday through Friday 10:30 am-12:30 pm.
December – New Hope for Women offers support to people in Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox & Waldo counties affected by domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, as well as educational resources to assist communities in creating a safer and healthier future.
January – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine provides children in Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Penobscot, Somerset and Waldo Counties facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
February – The Troy Howard Middle School Garden Projects cuts into the tedium of middle school life and actually make a difference in the lives of middle schoolers!
March – The Friends of the Belfast Parks is a volunteer-based, non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to the preservation, improvement, and use of Belfast’s parks and green spaces.
April – Veggies for All is a food bank farm that works to relieve hunger by growing vegetables for those in need, while collaborating with partners to distribute and increase access to quality nutritious food.
May – The Belfast Farmers Market was established in 1980 to provide local small growers and craftsmen with an outlet for the sale of fresh picked produce and related agricultural products; to foster an appreciation for Maine’s rural resources; and to develop sources of marketing, management and agricultural information for its members.
June – The Waldo County Trails Coalition is a collaborative project of nine Waldo County organizations working to create a year-round recreational footpath stretching from Unity to Belfast. The Coalition envisions the trail as a way to raise environmental awareness, support our working landscape, and connect and strengthen communities.
July – The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) is a nonprofit membership organization protecting, restoring, and conserving Maine’s environment, now and for future generations. NRCM harnesses the power of the law, science, and the voices of more than 16,000 supporters statewide and beyond.
August – The Game Loft is an award winning 4-H out of school time program that for the past 17 years has been serving the educational, emotional, and social needs of youth in Waldo County. The Game Loft’s primary program, offered to all participants, provides friends, food, and safety. Highly trained staff mentor youth and create a safe and welcoming atmosphere.
September – Literacy Volunteers of Waldo County empowers adult learners by increasing their literacy skills, improving opportunity through reading, and enhancing a culture of literacy within our community.
October – The Belfast Soup Kitchen provides a safe community where the guests can find food, comfort and hope for the future in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.
November – Waldo Community Action Partners changes peoples lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America better place to live. We care about the entire communities and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.
December – Hospice Volunteers of Waldo County has been training volunteers to offer free, confidential, non-medical support and assistance to anyone with a life limiting disease or illness and their families since 1981.
Outreach in the Schools
Some schools in the local RSU 20 school district qualify for participation in the USDA’s federally funded Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), based on the number of students receiving free or reduced price school lunches. Those that do not qualify receive a grant from Waldo County General Hospital to enable them their participation.
The goal of the program is to provide access to, and educate about, a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Belfast Co-op participates in this program each school year in partnership with RSU 20 school district’s health coordinator.
Members of the Co-op’s deli and outreach teams typically visit three to four schools in the district each year. They develop and prepare recipes for the students to taste test and evaluate. When a consensus is reached regarding a favorite or favorites, the recipes are submitted to the district food services director for inclusion on the menu or in the salad bar.
At each school the Health Coordinator talks about the FDA Choose My Plate recommendations and promotes healthy snack and meal choices. The Co-op workers expand on that theme while discussing co-operative principles and how the Co-op strives to offer the finest local and organic products at reasonable prices. In 2015 they were able to introduce students to the Co-op Explorers program, a free fruit program.
March 31, 2015 talk by nutritionist John Bagnulo MPH, PhD at the Belfast Free Library titled “Why Our Mitochondria Might Play the Greatest Role in Our Health;” filmed by Ned Lightner of Belfast Community TV.