Reclaiming Dignity Distributing Hope
The goal of every service is to ensure that we preserve the dignity of the individual.
Compassion Coalition is a sustainable nonprofit where 96 cents of every dollar donated goes to creating change in our community. We are self-sustaining thanks to our grocery store, Bargain Grocery.
We are self-sustaining, with no ongoing government or private funding for operational costs. This means we are able to focus on the immediate needs of the community and serve non-profit agencies to help meet those needs.
Our goal is to partner with local and national distributors to buy and obtain large product donations to distribute to those who need them most.
The creation of innovative, community-based programming allows our products to go directly to those in need in our community.
By the time I had become Oneida County Executive in 1997, I was already impressed by the strong community of faith and works that was Mt. Zion (later Redeemer) Church. When I heard they wanted to start a new program with other partners to feed our community's persons in need, I was anxious to learn more. With a warehouse that had been donated to them, and with their volunteers and other resources, they had the strongest capability in our area to attract surplus and other donated foods and consumer goods by the trailer truck load. The plan they had developed to make this project sustainable was, to me, genius. They would give away some, and, at the request of their food donors, sell other items at a very low price. The proceeds of those sales would support their minimal costs of operation. We assigned one of our social services workers part time to their location to qualify people for, and to distribute, food stamps. Those who went to the Compassion Coalition, and later the Bargain Grocer, could use their food stamps and, we all figured, could expand the purchasing power of their stamps (later EBT) by over 30%! In addition, the program had many items for free and items for other distributors to hand out at a very low cost. They quickly became a great partner with us to help our area. As the years went on, we expanded our contributions for this program, and more people whom we were meant to serve got even more "bang for their buck". Our community is very grateful to all who made this possible!
“The Compassion Coalition/Bargain Grocer has had a tremendous impact on the students in my classroom. I teach severe/profound multiply disabled children ages sixteen to twenty-one. The goals of my classroom are life skills training as well as providing for each students’ health, hygiene and well being. I would not have been able to accomplish these goals so effectively without the help of the Compassion Coalition/Bargain Grocery. They provided all the necessary means for success. We were able to count on them for school supplies, hygiene products, healthy snacks and even clothing. Having such a high rate of poverty, causes extra stress on families and children. The Compassion Coalition/Bargain Grocery has helped lift that burden and provide necessities to children who would otherwise have to go without.”
Compassion Coalition has been an incredible resource for our patients at Sister Rose Vincent Family Medicine Center. They often drop off produce and goods to the clinic when they have excess and the patients can take them when they are finished with their appointments. They are the first agency we call when we know of a family in need for anything from hygiene products to food to furniture. It is the first organization we send people to for grocery shopping at their Bargain Grocery store where we know the employees will help them select good foods and even educate them on how to prepare the foods. This is truly an exceptional organization.
There has been fewer better models for success in providing food to our most vulnerable population in Utica and Oneida County than the one created by Mike Servello. For years, Compassion Coalition and ‘Your Bargain Grocer’ has developed into one of the most effective food pantries in all of New York State. Mike has worked incredibly well with our local officials, organizations, State and Federal Agencies to increase not only the amount of food supply, but the additional assistance needed in Utica’s most underserved community. I commend Mike for his dedication to this effort. Thank you Pastor Servello for leading the way.
As mayor of one of the poorest cities in all of New York State, we were constantly trying to find better ways to serve our constituency. Although we had plenty of not for profits, its seemed as though many were equally as bad off as the residents they were trying to help. Out of the box thinking was needed, and thankfully that is when Compassion Coalition was founded in the city. Their model truly revamped how services were offered to the most vulnerable residents of the city. I remember walking in thinking it was just another drop off center. I even brought some used clothing in a bag! Pastor Servello took it from I realized it not only was just the tip of the iceberg, but that at the rate they were going, they would quickly outgrow their space. One of the events held by Compassion Coalition was the yearly back to school supply giveaway program. It was held in the park outside of city hall, and as mayor i had a birds eye view from my office. What could have been an easy walk through and fill your bag program, was enhanced by barbers giving haircuts, people handing out food and snacks, and brand new book-bags filled with supplies for an entire school year. Truly next level donations giving the community members who needed it most a leg up. As the next step of this multi level attack on poverty, the opening of Your Bargain Grocer moved forward, people saw a full service, state of the art grocery store situated in a food desert of one of the cities poorest neighborhoods. Rightfully, the excitement grew daily. At the ribbon cutting, the remarkable vision of Mike Servello, was clearly evident and was welcomed into the neighborhood and city as the true champion that it was. When any political figurehead, or head of a not for profit, or even a CEO of a for profit company looks back upon their work they should see clearly that it changed peoples lives for the better. This clearly demonstrates that, and Utica NY, a city of 66,000 plus people are indebted to Mike Servello, the founder and CEO of Compassion Coalition.
Through their work, the Compassion Coalition provides help to families who are in most need. Need of food, need of the basics, need of skills. Need of compassion that they provide.
They’ve grown leaps and bounds as their ministry has grown as Compassion Coalition. They’re a pretty well-oiled machine.
Numbers are based on reporting received monthly from Community Partners.
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.
509 Lafayette St, Utica NY 13502
(315)266-0039 Contact Us