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Chairman’s Corner – 2015 Roundup

Welcome to Chairman’s Corner”, where our Board Chair, Paul Taskier, will write about a variety of topics that impact Bread for the City and indeed the community and nation at large. We invite you to Read, Enjoy and Share!

As I think about what Bread for the City hopes to accomplish next year, it seemed important to consider how much good we have done in the past year, with your help:

What we do• Over 15,000 people received groceries;
• Over 3,000 people visited our clothing room for seasonally appropriate clothing several times a year;
• Over 2,700 patients were treated at our medical and dental clinic;
• Over 550 clients were advised or represented by the lawyers at our legal clinics;
• Over 800 men and women living with mental illness and other disabilities maintained independent lives through our Representative Payee program;
• Over 1,000 clients found or saved homes through our housing programs; and
• Over 130 clients graduated from our pre-employment program.

And it’s not only a story of individuals helped; the changes we made and continue to make in people’s lives are dramatic. If you have no food in your home for your children and grandchildren, it makes a huge difference to have a full holiday turkey meal at home, courtesy of Bread for the City.PEP graduation

If you are facing eviction by your landlord, Bread’s lawyers’ ability to stop that eviction changes the arc of your life: you still have a home. If you are in need of support and encouragement and join Bread’s new SE Wellness Program where you get coaching, training, healthcare, exercise, and self-respect: that’s priceless.

If you haven’t seen a doctor in years and are feeling poorly, getting caring treatment and follow-up–that makes all the difference. Bread does all this and much more, many times a day, all in an atmosphere of Dignity, Respect, Service and Justice – our motto. And our 97% client satisfaction statistic bears testimony to how deeply that ethic has penetrated our staff and its treatment of those in need. Indeed, even as we help more people, we do it better, and offer them more.

This year we initiated our Advocacy Program. It doesn’t replace what we already do, or even detract from it; it just addresses another set of issues where Bread needs to have a voice and an impact. In the last ten years, Washington has lost 22,000 low-income housing units, displacing around 100,000 of our city’s residents with the fewest resources. Our advocacy efforts will allow us to work with other groups to have our collective voices heard to rebuild low-income housing in DC.

Dr. Choi with Board Member Michael Blue

Dr. Choi with Board Member Michael Blue

Food is another area where we are continually doing more. Over the past few years, we transitioned to healthier food–fresh fruits and vegetables from our gleaning program, City Orchard, and rooftop gardens, and high quality meats.

With the decrease in food stamps, people no longer have a three-day hole in their food supply each month; they have a five-day span when there’s nothing in the fridge or pantry. So Bread for the City responded to that need–with your help–and now give five days of food a month to our clients in need.

And our medical clinic continues to expand its services as well. We now offer vision care in a dedicated treatment room with an ophthalmologist, with referrals to minor surgery and inexpensive or free prescription eye-wear.

Most recently, for our annual Holiday Helpings campaign, our staff and over 387 volunteers distributed over 10,000 turvols stuffing HH bagskeys with all the trimmings so our clients and their families could have a holiday dinner in their own homes, with dignity and joy. With your help, we raised over $400,000 for that campaign. And that would not have been possible without the 120+ corporate and community partners who rallied together to sponsor Holiday Helpings and coordinate company-wide drives.

From companies large and small, to nonprofits, and elementary school groups, to neighbors and BFC staff members, our supporters came out in force to spread the word about Bread for the City’s good work. A special “thanks” goes out to our top Holiday Helpings fundraisers: WilmerHale LLP, Perkins Coie LLP, Bates White, Alston & Bird LLP, and Jones Day.

Bread does so much in so many ways for so many people in need. As we consider all that is wrong with the world, the fact that people of good will come together to support Bread and to help in its good works is a bright light in a sometimes dark world.

I hope that everyone has warm and loving holidays and I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2016.

Paul Taskier cropped

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