Bethany Community Ministries is a faith-based ministry, extending its services based on principles of Hospitality, Generosity, Empathy and Safety to all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
The BCM Food Pantry began over 20 years ago in response to the community need to reduce the stigma of hunger, and to help mitigate the results of Homewood being a food desert. Homewood lacks its own grocery store, farmer’s market, or other healthy food provider which is what makes it a food desert. Homewood South (the surrounding area of BCM) also has a much higher poverty rate than the City of Pittsburgh with one in three people living in poverty. The Food Pantry currently distributes food in the Homewood community on the first and third Saturdays of each month; serving approximately 30 families. The program not only distributes shelf-stable food resources from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, but also partners with local businesses to acquire fresh fruits and vegetables for delivery to Homewood residents. In addition to food, the Food Pantry program periodically provides much needed personal care and non-food related products to the residents that it serves.
Th Learning Hub is a collaborative effort between the Homewood Children’s Village & BCM providing a safe and supportive environment conducive to learning during the pandemic.
The Master’s Kitchen serves hot, healthy, and nutritious lunches every Friday for anyone that needs one. Before the March 2020 COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, the meals were served homestyle in a dine-in area to foster caring and compassionate connections with those who might otherwise feel outcast. In response to COVID and the ensuing increased need for meals, Master’s Kitchen began serving hot meals in take away containers and increased the number of meals per person from one meal to three different meals to cover the weekend; total number of meals served went from 60 meals per week to 350-400 meals per week and reached a high of 525 meals per week in the summer of 2020.
To date, BCM has coordinated the facilitation of 33 Covid-19 vaccination clinics and supported the administration of 2,247 Covid-19 vaccinations, many of which were delivered on site in senior congregate housing facilities throughout Allegheny County. Additionally, BCM was able to facilitate 12 Influenza clinics prior to switching over to Covid-19 clinics where BCM also addressed food insecurity. The aim of the Senior Care Coordination program is to address the medical and nonmedical gaps that exist within the vulnerable population of Black and Brown seniors who reside in congregate housing. However, given the latest statistics with regards to vaccine reluctance among the youth and the overall low vaccination rates among this population in Black and Brown communities, BCM believes it now time to again pivot our focus on outreach and vaccination education to counteract the misinformation and support the increase of COVID-19 vaccinations.
Through gifts of physical comfort, The Shawl Project shares God’s love with those who are going through difficult times and helps them understand that they are not forgotten. Discovering that several women in the community had the ability to knit, crochet and quilt with amazing skill, The Shawl Project (TSP) began meeting in 2013 to make shawls, blankets, and afghans for sick and shut-in residents. With an emphasis on young people, TSP participants transfer their knowledge of crochet, knitting, and other fiber arts to those who want to learn. Sometimes partnering with other organizations, The Shawl Project has donated many hand-crafted blankets and shawls to the homeless, veterans, and otherwise marginalized people in our local community and city. As COVID-19 began to affect the Homewood community in March of 2020, the members of The Shawl Project shifted to making masks and have distributed over 4000 masks to residents.
Since April of 2015, Soul Fit Workouts has provided gentle, accessible, and affordable exercise classes for adults of all fitness levels to increase and enhance their physical fitness and overall health and wellness. Certified and experienced instructors lead exercise classes and workshops in a variety of modalities including strength, flexibility, balance, and aerobic training. Soul Fit Workouts emphasizes training participants to modify each exercise to their own fitness and comfort level to prevent injury or overtraining. Soul Fit Wokrouts has participated in various community wide events to share their fitness and health messages including hosting their own Health and Fitness Fair in the Homewood community in fall of 2018.
ummer Youth Program (SYP) is dedicated to strengthening the greater community with quality summer programming by enhancing academic performance and life skills in a safe environment for Homewood children. SYP supports scholarship through exposure to high achieving professionals, academic field trips, and activities in S.T.E.M. and reading. SYP strives to reduce delinquency-related risks through character building exercises, informal counseling, and relationship building. The program also seeks to address childhood hunger in the Homewood community by providing two free hot meals per day alongside nutrition education. It is hoped that by participating in SYP that Homewood’s children will have a greater sense of safety and security in their community. As we consider academic set-backs due to the pandemic, BCM plans to expand the SYP in the summer of 2022 to be a full summer-long program.
The Turn Around Agenda serves our community school, Pittsburgh Faison K-5, by nurturing a wholesome educational environment with committed volunteers. The program recruits in-school volunteers who provide supportive services like tutoring, reading support and other duties. The program also secures needed resources to fulfill unmet classroom needs such as dictionaries and alarm clocks for each family. The purpose of the Turn Around Agenda is to see that every student maximizes their potential for learning. The Turn-Around Agenda not only supports our community school children, but gathers adults together to learn something new and to have fun. One of those events was “What’s cookin’?” This cooking class demonstrated the preparation of party food. Chef Carmen, her mother, Minerva and her Aunt Marsha made it a family affair.