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Bread for the City’s Temporary Food Program Closure Transforms into a Triumph for the Community

Bread for the City, the leading food pantry in Washington, DC, faced a challenging decision on March 20. After three years of increased service to the community during the pandemic, coping with loss, and undertaking planning and reflection, the organization made the difficult choice to temporarily close its Northwest Center pantry at 1525 7th Street NW and the Michelle Obama Southeast Center pantry at 1700 Good Hope Road SE, allowing its dedicated staff to rest and mourn.

Bread for the City used this pause in services as an opportunity to restructure its food program and provide a better client experience. The food program toured some of the best food pantries in Washington, DC, and New York, seeking inspiration and fresh ideas for their highly anticipated Grand Reopening on April 18. Now, each food pantry offers on-site services, including client choice, and showcases a new state-of-the-art facility at the Southeast center. Understanding the impact of this sudden closure on the community, Bread for the City collaborated closely with partner agencies such as East of the River Mutual Aid, Capital Area Food Bank, Martha’s Table, and 11th Street Bridge Park. Together, they worked to ensure that the needs of Bread for the City’s clients were met, providing uninterrupted access to vital food resources.

Their new and improved food pantries reopened on April 18. Clients can pick up groceries monthly at either center from Monday through Thursday, 10 am-12 pm and 1-3 pm. Notable improvements include:

  • Clients can hand-pick the fresh produce, meats, grains, and canned goods that go into their grocery bags.
  • Clients with larger households will receive more groceries.
  • Clients who bring their own bags can receive bonus food items.
  • Clients now have the option to designate someone to pick up groceries on their behalf with valid identification.
  • No community members are turned away. If someone presents without identification, we’re providing them with food and ensuring they receive information and support to get identification.

These enhancements are in addition to the regularly scheduled free farmers markets, held year-round on the second Friday of each month at 9 AM in the Northwest Center and the fourth Friday of each month at 9 AM in the Southeast Center, offering an abundance of fresh, seasonal produce.

Bread for the City thanks the DC client community for their patience and understanding during this time, sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience experienced by individuals or their families, and remains committed to serving the community with dignity and respect.

To learn more about Bread for the City and its food program, please visit their website at BreadfortheCity.Org/Food.

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