The Bethel Butikk Food Pantry and Thrift Shop
The Bethel Butikk Food Pantry and Thrift Shop in Westby is providing a service to the area that far exceeds the expectations of Bethel's Westby Advisory Board that looked for a community based program to utilize the former Bethel Elderhjem Group Home. For the past four and a half years, the building has been home to the completely volunteer operated thrift shop and food pantry.
In 2012, 842 families were provided with an estimated $250,000 worth of groceries which were donated or purchased at discount prices through the food pantry. For Operation Christmas, 1,518 people were served with food, toys and clothing. During Christmas, over $225,000 worth of food and merchandise was distributed. A committee of 10 people from area churches oversees the general operation of the Butikk. A separate committee of four people meets every Monday morning at 8:30 to review all requests and referrals for assistance.
Requests filled last year included $30,603 for housing assistance, $37,990 to purchase food, $6,193 in heating assistance, $6,559 for medical and other assistance, $30,957 for utilities, and $12,870 in transportation assistance. 10% of proceeds of the thrift shop, after utilities and maintenance costs are paid, are put in a capital fund for repairs and improvements on the building. All remaining funds go into the Bethel Butikk Foundation to buy food and help families when no other help is available.
The Bethel Butikk also applies for various grants during the year and receives donations from many individuals and organizations. There are no administration fees taken out and all the workers are volunteers. About 100 volunteers work with the project, serving Vernon and Southern Monroe Counties.
Through "Feed America", We are able to buy $18.00 worth of Groceries for $1.00. Not all of our groceries come from there, so we average $15.00 of Food for every $1.00 donated.