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Before We Say “Farewell” to ‘22, Here Are Our Top 22 Moments!

If you’re like me, the end of one year and the start of the next creates room for reflection. And especially after a year like 2022, you might be thinking, where did the time go? This year seems to have zoomed by, having kicked off with the realization that it would be our third pandemic year. We entered this year questioning what the new variants meant. Omicron was on everyone’s mind. Would the vaccines continue to keep us safe? What did such a prolonged health emergency mean for our community and loved ones?

The pandemic invoked fear, but we triumphed through it and found joy in our work at Bread for the City. Our community members’ (masked) smiles over a bag of fresh groceries kept us going. Our gratitude over knowing our community was safe after each doctor visit to our medical centers and cases brought through our legal clinic strengthened us— these moments and many more brought us together.

As we wind down this year, here are Bread for the City’s Top Moments of 2022:

22. We got going. BFC joined Let’s Go DMV – a collaborative guaranteed income pilot for hospitality workers across the District.

21. We broke bread. Our signature discussion series – Breaking Bread – returned in 2022 for two meaningful conversations. The first centered on women in social justice movements, and the second investigated our region’s food justice movement with renowned speakers and moderators.

20. We collected, and you donated. Several partners across DC generously hosted BFC drives, including a toiletry drive at Eversheds Sutherland, snack-packing at Bloomberg Industry Group, and a diaper drive at WilmerHale.

19. We got you covered…your feet, at least. In October, we held our first Socktober and, in partnership with The New Macedonia Baptist Church, collected over 6,000 socks for distribution.

18. We made new friends. Over the summer, we welcomed Wegmans to DC, and they celebrated their new Tenleytown store by becoming a corporate partner of BFC.

17. We collected food. In the summer and fall, our friends at WUSA9 organized can drives for BFC at local Giant grocery stores, where area shoppers donated hundreds of pounds of shelf-stable items.

16. We reflected. Author Robert Samuels, BFC CEO George Jones, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Randi Abramson spoke at the National Press Club about His Name is George Floyd and the book’s connection to our work in DC.

15. We celebrated milestones. In October, our new medical clinic in the Michelle Obama Southeast Center of Bread for the City celebrated its one-year Breadiversary! If you need medical care in DC, you can still become a patient at our new SE clinic.

14. We THRIVEd. Studying our THRIVE East of the River initiative – a 2020 rapid response guaranteed basic income pilot sponsored by BFC and three partners – an Urban Institute report concluded that this effective model could be replicated elsewhere.

13. We hosted. We were excited to have guests join our bi-weekly Free Farmers Markets this year, including Libereaders DC, who distributed free books centering on Black stories.

12. We were Helping Hands. We celebrated our second year as one of three Washington Post Helping Hand select charities. You can read this year’s columns about our work, community, and staff here.

11. We organized. The Terrance Moore Organizing Institute re-opened to in-person sessions this year – read more about the organizers in this year’s Helping Hand column.

10. We dashed. Over the summer, BFC and Doordash celebrated our 30,000th grocery delivery as part of our door-to-door food pantry delivery program. That’s about 500,000 meals!

9. We lawyered up. BFC’s immigration practice, which grew out of our family law clinic, continued to grow and establish itself this year.

8. We were festive. Friends and neighbors joined us as we hosted our first annual Holiday Helpings Harvest Fest in December to pack groceries. Together, we packed 5,000 bags of food – enough for an entire week of Holiday Helpings!

7. We got ready for school. With our new Southeast Center medical clinic opening in October 2021, this year was our first back-to-school season in the new facility, enabling BFC to hand out backpacks and school supplies as well as welcome students and their parents for annual vaccinations.

6. We answered the call. Along with a collaborative group of partners, BFC continued our work with the Landlord-Tenant Legal Assistance Network and created a pilot program to provide emergency cash assistance for those facing evictions, which had a 100% success rate in 2022.

5. We celebrated independence. For this year’s Juneteenth celebration, BFC held its first annual block party – and party we did! In addition to fun and games, we hosted 35 local Black-owned businesses at our Southeast location.

4. We walked the walk. Knowing we needed to expand our capacity for external and internal racial equity work, BFC brought on not one, but three experienced racial equity managers to undertake this mandate. Meet them here!

3. We made time. Women’s Wellness Day, an annual wellness fair for our community, saw a reunion event as women came together for the first time since the pandemic with this year’s theme of “Making Time for Me.”

2. We did more, and then more, this Holiday Helpings. BFC celebrated its 30th annual Holiday Helpings – a cherished DC tradition – by setting out to supply 12,000 families (more than ever during an in-person Holiday Helpings) with a turkey, groceries, and monetary support. The program closed before Thanksgiving, supporting 16,000 families, and sought to support an additional 3,000 families following the holiday.

1. We connected. With you! You are what makes every year at Bread for the City work – no matter the challenges. With our community of supporters, we could provide food, clothing, and social, legal, and medical services to thousands of DC residents. Thank you for being there for BFC for another year!

While this year was full of great moments and memories that will warm 2023 from the start, I would be remiss not to mention that, for our team at Bread for the City, 2022 also delivered an irreplaceable loss. Our longtime chief operating officer, Jeannine Sanford, left us this year after a prolonged battle with cancer. She dedicated her life to supporting our community, and we know that we will carry her memory with us into each new year from here on out. Her legacy will be with us through not only our work but the way we do our work – with dignity and respect for all people.

From everyone at Bread for the City, we wish you a gentle and restorative end to 2022 and a welcoming start to 2023!

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