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What’s the BUZZ?

NEW BERN, NC: Religious Community Services answered this question during the “Project Reveal” event co-sponsored by the New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce in the RCS Warehouse on Thursday, September 14th. Approximately 125 members of the area’s business and nonprofit communities turned out to learn more about The BEE Campaign, a $1.5 million initiative to Build, Empower and Engage the community with RCS. The event started in the RCS Warehouse, the space where donors are able to deliver needed food items, clothing and some household goods for those in the community. “Project Reveal” attendees learned how space reconfiguration will help RCS be more efficient in addressing community needs through its many programs designed to empower those who participate to live independently. During Phase 1 of the BEE Campaign, the Warehouse will be transformed to a new Community Kitchen accommodate 144 guests and a commercial-grade kitchen where RCS will partner with Craven Community College to offer hospitality classes. Storage space will be redesigned to be more efficient. The North Carolina Housing Authority has committed $500,000 in grant funds towards this 1st Phase of RCS Renovation.

A 13-member Committee, the BEEkeepers, have helped RCS raise $500,000 in matching funds towards its goal of $1.5 million to date.    The BEE Campaign extends way beyond this group of community leaders to include several hundred donors and volunteers who have invested financially in the project as well as provided in-kind support and time to bring the BEE Initiative to fruition. The Campaign, co-chaired by Deborah Cook and Maria Cho and managed by Margaret Shields is in the process of raising the final $500,000 needed. Several attendees brought checks on Thursday evening, bringing RCS closer to meeting its goal.

As Executive Director, Juliet Rogers constantly reminds the community, “RCS is more than a Soup Kitchen”. The BEE Committee and RCS Board of Directors led tours of the RCS complex and explained that in Phase 2, the Shelter will be reconfigured to include more rooms for families with children who find themselves in need of a temporary place to live and rebuild their futures. Phase 3 will focus on veterans, many of whom are 35 years and younger and need temporary accommodations as they transition back to civilian life. RCS anticipates the BEE initiative and renovations will be completed in 3 years.

For more information on the BEE Campaign and/or to become involved, contact Juliet Rogers, RCS Executive Director, at 252-633-2767 or Margaret Shields, 252-633-0555.

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