It is an honor for me to currently serve as President of the British Benevolent Society (BBS). I learned of the existence of the BBS only while I was serving as President of the British American Business Council Northern California from 2001-2005. I could not believe I had not known of its existence before then. The incredible foresight of its founders has enabled numerous Brits in distress to find relief over the last century and a half.
The onus is now on the board members, members and future members to sustain and increase BBS funds in order to provide emergency relief to distraught British expat individuals, whether residents or visitors, who find themselves stranded in a desperate situation without any means of support. Tragedies happen. Accidents happen. Volcanic ash can suddenly appear and prevent airline passengers from flying home and find themselves stuck without any funds left to extend their stays. The BBS worked closely with the British Consulate during the last ‘Ash’ crisis, providing cash for meals and lodging to those in need. We have assisted in the repatriation of individuals who have found themselves no longer able to support themselves in the US. We have assisted in medical emergencies, which have involved flying injured individuals back to the UK and supported many more individuals who have met with unfortunate circumstances who have found themselves without any means of help. Annual membership is a mere $45.00, which is 100% tax deductible.
The British government has no financial means to assist individuals in situations mentioned above, but the British Consulate General in San Francisco is often the first port of call for Brits in distress, these cases are referred to the BBS. We work very closely with the British Consulate and provide them with the means to dispense emergency BBS funds when necessary.
I therefore urge you to support this worthy charity so that the BBS can continue to be a lifeline for desperate individuals.
Kathleen Kimura, MBE