WHO WE ARE
Compassion Coalition is an entrepreneurial-based, innovative nonprofit located in Central New York. We focus on community-based giving, meeting needs as they arise. This means our giving is different from year to year, as the needs of the community change.
Compassion Coalition Inc. is funded by our grocery store, Bargain Grocery, which allows us to be self-sustaining, and allows our giving to be fluid. This means that as a non profit we do not rely on any government grants or ongoing funding for any operational costs. This allow us to meet needs that would otherwise not be met in our community by other non profits, schools, or emergency food pantries due to strict grant regulations. Compassion Coalition has created it’s own funding source, allowing for sustainability while also bringing the creation of food accessibility and equality to a food desert.
We partner with our area’s nonprofits to help them succeed and meet the needs of the community. Compassion Coalition has given more than $20 million in donated goods per year to over 350,000 individuals through mattress giveaways, furniture, school supplies, snacks and much more.
Compassion Coalition is an innovative, not for profit that has been serving Utica and Central New York for over 19 years. Utica is a community that has faced years of challenges which include recession, deep poverty, loss of jobs, and is host to one of the highest refugee/immigrant populations per capita of any city in America. Founder and CEO Mike Servello Sr. focused on creating an entity that is entrepreneurial-based, sustainable, and duplicatable. Bargain Grocery is the vehicle that allows Compassion Coalition to give back to our communities in a variety of ways, and to be a completely self-sustaining entity.
After the first year of operation at Compassion Coalition Inc., Servello learned very quickly that year after year you had to apply for grants and funding to keep the lights on and pay a staff to complete the mission at hand. He learned many others in the community were trying to obtain the same grants to serve the same demographics. Instead of “slicing the pie” of grants another way, Servello started to think of ways that could be innovative and creative. The staff kept hearing about how the location that Compassion Coalition was situated in was a “food desert.” With years of entrepreneurial and grocery experience, Servello thought of the idea for Bargain Grocery in 2002.
The mission was to serve those in the food desert while partnering with national and local vendors to buy food that was overproduced, receive donated products from companies, and then sell this product at a low cost. This idea — what Servello calls a “God-given idea,” — has changed the way West Utica has been able to access food, and has allowed Compassion Coalition to stay self-sustaining.
Compassion Coalition has grown consistently and exponentially over the last 19 years, giving over $20,000,000 in fair market value of product donations yearly to our communities, non-profits, schools, and emergency food workers.
In December of 2018, Compassion Coalition’s Bargain Grocer opened the doors to its first brick and mortar location at 1110 Lincoln Ave, growing from 1,200 sq ft. to over 13,000 sq. ft. of retail location.
MISSION AND VISION
At Compassion Coalition, it is our mission to serve the underprivileged, the needy, the poor, the afflicted and those lacking opportunity and basic life necessities such as affordable food, clothing, housing, transportation, employment and finances. We will work locally, regionally,
nationally and globally as needed to accomplish our mission with partners in the public, private, and faith-based organizational communities.
We envision a world without poverty, without need, and without injustice. We will strive to promote and create a world of abundance, prosperity, full-life, opportunity, equality, justice and safety for all that we have the privilege of serving.