Bethlehem Cares is a direct assistance program designed to collect and distribute donations to support residents who find themselves in times of unexpected financial need.
Bethlehem Cares was created by a volunteer committee in response to inquiries from generous community members hoping to lend a helping hand to Bethlehem residents who have fallen on hard times.
Until now, the town could only accept donations for the Bethlehem Food Pantry and that money can only be used for food. Now, through Bethlehem Cares, the town can accept donations that support a broader array of critical needs.
Bethlehem Cares is not a substitute for general assistance provided by the town, but rather intended to cover expenses and situations which are not covered by Bethlehem’s general assistance guidelines.
The Select Board has established a trust fund to handle donations, and the fund does not include any tax dollars.
How to Donate to Bethlehem Cares:
Click the above button to make a donation online, or send a check to: Bethlehem Cares, P.O. Box 189, Bethlehem, NH 03574.
Please make checks payable to: Bethlehem Cares. Thank you!
How to Apply for Bethlehem Cares Assistance:
More About Bethlehem Cares:
Mission: To assist Bethlehem residents in times of unexpected financial need.
Vision: To use donations from our caring community to help our friends, neighbors and strangers who need financial assistance due to unforeseen expenses. In doing so, we seek to inspire kindness and compassion that will energize people to pay it forward through their own compassion-driven actions to increase unity and connection in our community.
Who We Are: A committee of no more than eight members, including the town welfare/direct assistance director and at least one member of the select board as ex-officio members. The welfare director and the member of the select board will not have terms. Other committee members will have staggered terms of two or three years and will be eligible for reappointment.
When it is time to replace one of the eight members the opening will be posted on the town website. The final decision will be made by the select board based on the recommendation of the committee.
Current Committee Members: Alison Caruso; Carol Johnson-Haywood; Ruth Heintz; Christine Kelly; Tina Lister and Erin Talcott. April Hibberd is the administrator. Chris Jensen is the select-board member.
Meetings: Will be conducted in accordance with the state’s requirements under RSA 91-A.
Source of Fund: The fund will be established with donations and possibly grants and fundraisers. It is designed to be flexible and meet diverse needs. These could range from a car repair that prevents someone from going to work to eyeglasses for a child.
How it Works:
- Applicants must be residents of Bethlehem.
- The town welfare/direct assistance administrator will accept the application and share it with committee members.
- The administrator will conduct an interview, accompanied by one board member.
- Meetings will be held at least every month. A quorum (five) must be in attendance before a meeting can be held. A decision to distribute funds has to pass by a majority vote of the committee members in attendance. Additional meetings can be scheduled for emergency or time sensitive situations.
- Funds will be issued directly to the service/product supplier, not the applicant.
- The administrator will refer and collaborate with other agencies and resources that can provide or help with the requested need.
- The name of the applicant is confidential. However, financial information is public, including the amounts paid out and received. The financial records will be part of the town’s yearly audit.
- The applicant will receive a written notice of decision within 10 business days after the meeting.
- The goal is to offer one-time assistance.
- The applicant may request a reconsideration of the decision and will be able to meet with the committee.
Volunteer Assistance: As part of the vision of paying it forward, the committee hopes to create a list of people with skills and talents to assist community members in need. For example, someone with carpentry skills might help someone who needs home repairs. The town’s only role will be giving out the information of people who have asked to be on the list. All details will be worked out directly between the volunteer and the community member.
If you would like to be added to the Volunteer Assistance list, let us know! !