By LAURA ENDERSON
Beans and Rice, a community economic development organization, works to improve the economic well-being of low-to-moderate income families and children. The organization helps these families meet short-term basic needs while they work to make long-term changes to become stable.
They will provide locals with a food pantry and emergency housing assistance during temporary financial hardships. As well as providing children with after school academic programs designed to help with academics and build social skills. This helps children become less likely to rely on public assistance as adults.
“Our poverty and unemployment rates are typically above state and national averages while our area household median income is well below state and national averages,” said Eric L. Bucey, executive director for Beans and Rice.
Beans and Rice provides hunger relief, after-school programs for at-risk children, creates jobs for low-to-moderate income people, provides savings programs to help low-to-moderate income families buy their first home and children save for secondary and post-secondary education.
The board of directors for Beans and Rice are all volunteers. Bucey is the only full-time paid staff, and there are three part-time paid staff.
“We rely heavily on volunteers, but are not completely volunteer run,” Bucey said.
Beans and Rice recruits AmeriCorps volunteers both locally and nationally, and each semester the have around 50 students and interns from Radford University working with the organization. They also hosted alternative spring break groups this past spring.
About 40 percent of income for Beans and Rice is from volunteer services and donated goods, 21 percent from local government sources, 20 percent from the federally funded AmeriCorps program, and 11 percent from foundation, trusts, and corporate grants. Only 3 percent of revenue for Beans and Rice from private donations.
“We need additional full-time paid staff positions to ensure the programs we provide and resources we leverage are delivered effectively,” Bucey said. “To do that we need to increase contributions from the local community.”
Beans and Rice held an information reception on Thursday to inform the community about their mission, programs and how the community can support them.
“We’re hoping that at least 30 people who didn’t have a clear understanding of our mission and programs attend and leave the event motivated to support our work,” Bucey said before the event.