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

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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!

Download your nomination form here!

2017 Recipients 

JanuaryBig 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.
AprilVeggies 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.
SeptemberLiteracy 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.
NovemberWaldo 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.
DecemberHospice 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.

2018 Recipients

JanuaryCreative Learning & Performance Inc. (CLAP!)
FebruaryWBFY Belfast Community Radio
MarchOur Town Belfast
AprilPeace Ridge Sanctuary
MayBelfast Maskers
JuneMaine Farmland Trust
JulyBelfast Bay Watershed Coalition
AugustWaldo County YMCA
SeptemberFriends of the Belfast Free Library
OctoberFood for Maine’s Future
NovemberBelfast Soup Kitchen
DecemberHabitat for Humanity Waldo County

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.

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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.