Comfort Food, Delicious Social Action

We at The Bearcamp Center believe that nutritious and delicious food is a right and not a privilege. For more than a decade, 1164 Bunker Hill Road has been a food hub, serving up weekly Farmers’ Table lunches, summer dinners, and our annual Giving Thanks Feast, all made from the most lush and delicious foods we can grow, raise, forage, or find. In order to maximize accessibility, our meals are served on a by-donation basis asking diners to pay what they can or believe the food is worth to our community.

At the outset of the pandemic, in March 2020, our kitchen went into full production to make meals for our community. We retrofitted our farm stand with freezers and a refrigerator stocked with 400-500 meals each week, offered by donation with the guideline to pay “what you can or what you think the meal and service is worth.” Through this program, we supported those suffering from economic downturns brought on by wide-spread shutdowns; those who feared due to the unpredictability of viral contagion the most basic chores of shopping for groceries; and our neighbors who simply craved the emotional sustenance good food lovingly-prepared can bring to a table. Local farmers and producers donated goods, folks with means sent funds to underwrite the program, and many bellies were filled. With 24,000 meals served to date, we are shifting our focus from pandemic need to addressing the pervasive reality of hunger in central Carroll County.

Our meals are prepared with a wide variety of ingredients, often using fresh produce donated by local farms such as Mountain Heartbeet, Tanna Farm, Moulton Farm, Windover Farm, and the NH Mushroom Company, to name a few. Friends and neighbors offer eggs, wild game, and groceries to our stores, helping us to create a wide variety of recipes to tempt many palates. We raise our own pork and lamb, and our neighbor contributes beef, which we use if a recipe includes meat.

Meals are served from a special room with its own clearly-labelled entrance on our front porch. We advertise on local chat groups when we’ve restocked, with a short description of the menu. Meal ingredients are posted on the side of the fridge. Folks can come by any time at all to pick up a meal. We ask that meals taken are logged, with donation amount (if a donation is possible). All meals are fully-cooked and need only be reheated to eat!

Donations keep these meals coming! The food is for all who need or want it; donations from those who have more cash to spare offset the meals for those without much disposable income.

Many people bring shelf-stable groceries and household items to stock our ShareShelf, providing extra food and goods for those who need to supplement their household budgets.

As of September 2022, 24,000 meals have been served; grant funding and donations pay for a cook to expand our meal prep; private funds have been donated to upgrade our kitchen, adding two commercial convection ovens, a commercial reach in, a commercial fridge, and a new freezer!

Thanks to the Tamworth Foundation, New Hampshire Charitable Fund, Meredith Village Savings Bank, Walmart of Conway, Eversource, Heart and Home, Food and Nutrition Resources Foundation, and many, many individuals for their generosity in supporting our Comfort Food Meals for All program.