What is CHiPS?

Community Help in Park Slope, Inc. (CHiPS), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit soup kitchen and women’s shelter in Park Slope, bordering Gowanus, that has provided hot meals to the hungry and homeless since 1971. CHiPS began providing transitional housing and support services for young mothers and their infants in the late 1990s, after the purchase of the CHiPS building at 200 4th Ave. CHiPS currently houses up to 8 pregnant and postpartum homeless young women at a time, along with their infants, in its Frances Residence above the soup kitchen. Last year, CHiPS served approximately 103,000 meals to its neighbors in need.

Who runs CHiPS?

CHiPS is run by a board of directors consisting of 13 Brooklyn residents, a small professional staff led by the executive director, who is a non-voting member of the board, and hundreds of volunteers from the NYC area. Many of our board members and volunteers have been involved with CHiPS in some capacity for decades.

Is CHiPS a religious organization?

CHiPS serves the hungry and homeless regardless of faith, race or ethnicity, gender, age, immigration or housing status, or employment status, and is supported by community and civic organizations, schools, churches, synagogues, and a diverse group of volunteers and staff who reflect the Brooklyn community. We remain proud of our historical connection to the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor and St. Francis Xavier Parish, whose commitment to serving the needy was the reason for starting CHiPS in 1971, however we are not affiliated with any church or other religious organization.

How can I help?

We would love your involvement as a volunteer, your financial support, in-kind donations, or your assistance in developing corporate, business, and non-profit partnerships.

Is my contribution tax deductible? 

Yes, CHiPS is a registered non-profit organization and provides every donor with written documentation of their gift.

What is your annual budget?

Our annual budget is currently a little more than $500,000, and we have an immediate fundraising goal of $200,000 to fund and much needed infrastructure repairs, and operations which primarily include feeding and assisting our guests and housing the mothers and infants in our residence, utilities, insurance and taxes.

Do you accept donations of food, clothing, or other in-kind items?

Yes, we are happy to accept donations of items provided we can make arrangements to handle the product properly.  Food, seasonal clothing, baby supplies, shoes, and appliances are some of the donations we might be able to use; please contact us so we can discuss your intended donation and ensure we will able to use it. We have a longer list of items we can usually accept on our Donate page as well as a wish list on Amazon.com.

Before donating, I would have to see the operation.  Is that possible?

We encourage everyone to visit CHiPS.  Please contact us to arrange a time for you to visit.  We love to have donors or potential volunteers visit so they can learn more about our operation and get a personal sense of how they can contribute, whether as volunteers, financial supporters, or in another capacity.

Does my name go into a database if I donate?  

Donor contact information is entered into a confidential database, which is used to generate thank-you letters for tax purposes.  Our records are confidential, never leave the premises, and are never sold to marketers of any sort.  If you would like to opt out of this database, please inform us, and we will send you a letter confirming your gift for tax purposes but leave your personal information out of our system.

Why should I support CHiPS when I already give to many other charities?

Many charities serve important needs.  Our donors tell us that giving to CHiPS’ dual mission of feeding the hungry and housing young mothers and their children makes them feel a part of a truly caring community.  The results are immediate and obvious.  Contributors see that their gift delivers an immediate result—food, housing, hope, right here in the Park Slope community.  When so many things are beyond our ability to change, this is a problem they can do something about.

How do I volunteer?

CHiPS welcomes your involvement and relies on the help of community members to keep its doors open and its soup pots hot. While the majority of our volunteers work in teams in the soup kitchen, others help out in the Frances Residence, or by donating their time to support our office staff and Fundraising Committee. All volunteers must first attend one of our volunteer orientations, which are held twice per month at CHiPS. You can find the schedule and further info. on our Volunteer page. We thank you!

What makes the CHiPS soup kitchen different from others?

On a personal level, CHiPS is warm, friendly, and focused on its guests.  We hear this from our volunteers who have worked at other soup kitchens, and our guests themselves. We know our guests by their names, favorite meals, and  birthdays.  CHiPS is not formal or regimented.  And when it comes to food, CHiPS meals are some of the healthiest.  That’s because nearly 80 percent of our food comes from the Park Slope Food Coop, which means it’s fresh and often organic.  CHiPS is unique in another important way.  We offer young mothers and their babies safe, secure housing for one year through our Frances Residency Program.  Here, young women focus on learning how to care for themselves and their babies and developing critical life skills to become  independent members of our community.