The Brookline Food Coop (BFC) is a 501(c)(3) all volunteer organization that was started in 1993 with a charter from the Lynn City Mission. It distributes approximately 100,000-200,000 lb of produce and baked goods annually to sites in the Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Newton areas.
Every day, rain or shine, 52 weeks per year, the Mobile BFC van makes pickups from the following food donors to be distributed to sites primarily in Brookline and Boston. The daily pickups include several WHOLE FOODS, where the van receives tubs and bowls of cut fruit, prepared salads and sandwiches, other pre-packed prepared foods, many boxes of fresh produce, fruit and vegetables, and also cereal, crackers, canned goods, flour, soy, rice, milk, jams, salad dressings, sauces, and teas. Three times a week donations are collected from 5 CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILLs and one and a half dozen STARBUCKS. Once a week donations of soup and other vegetables and meat are collected from 2 CHEESECAKE FACTORIES and YARDHOUSEs, the LONGHORN STEAKHOUSE and a local KFC. We pick up 2 days a week from VOLANTE FARM and WEGMAN's. In season we pick up from several local FARMER'S MARKETs as well.
There are nightly WHEN PIGS FLY bakery pick-ups in Brookline, where bread baked that day is donated in copious amounts. The varieties range from simple wheat to fancy savory loaves including their signature chocolate and fruit breads.
CLEAR FLOUR BREAD in Brookline donates immense amounts of bread several days a week. Four days a week we pick up bread and pastries from SWISS BAKERS near Watertown. And pickups of really fancy Danish pastries and breads are made four days a week at Watertown’s DANISH PASTRY HOUSE. Auburndale’s BREADSONG BAKERY is picked up 5+ times a week and Brookline's CHERYL ANN'S almost daily. BLACKER'S BAKESHOP gets a visit once a week. Numerous other locations are picked up on a will-call basis.
Each site has its own crew of volunteers (although more are always welcome). Volunteers help unload the delivery vehicles and unpack produce and baked goods. At some sites all loose bread is individually bagged, as are small amounts of produce, to facilitate sanitary distribution; at others, food selected by “shoppers” is placed in their bags by gloved volunteers. Most locations limit the number of people in the shopping area to limit disorder and shoppers’ feeling rushed. If a shopper needs help (seeing, carrying or choosing), volunteers also help in this way.