Bread for the City CEO George A. Jones testified before the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development on August 13th and 19th about the need for the next round of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to include competitive funding for community facilities. Below is a excerpt of his testimony, which has been submitted in its entirety to the public record.
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!
How many times have you gone hungry for more than half a day? Unless you are living in poverty, it’s not very likely.
Most people with adequate incomes have more choices for food than there are meals in the day. We are surrounded by a myriad of options–everything from restaurants to food trucks to fast food and more. Indeed, there is an obesity epidemic from overeating. But there is also unseen hunger.
“I’m in a volunteer corps.” That statement will get you lots of things and get you lots of places. People will give you rides, offer to buy you drinks, or food, and at a party you always get sent home with the leftovers.
It also means that at your placement, you are temporary. This can mean that people are hesitant to get to know you because they know that before long your year of service will be done and you will be leaving.
Working at Bread for the City though, it means something completely different. Being placed at Bread means that for one year, you gain an amazing loving, supportive, and embracing family. Despite the fact that everyone knew when I started that I was going to be here for just a year, they welcomed me. They got to know me, they helped me, and they taught me.
Wondimu Geda is a full time Bilingual Housing Clinic Coordinator with our Housing Access Program (HAP). Wandimu is fluent in Amharic, English, Afan Oromo, and Gurage. He works to make sure that our Amharic speaking clients have full access to HAP programming and often facilitates other BFC programs.
At Bread for the City, we value language access and see it as an integral piece of dignity and respect. All of our staff have been trained on our language access policies and know to offer interpretation services at every point of contact. If a staff member is not available to provide language services or interpretation we will call a telephonic interpretation service. For appointments scheduled ahead of time, we often bring in outside interpreters to facilitate culturally appropriate communication in meetings.
This summer, Bread for the City was chosen as beneficiary in a special community outreach project called Taste Your Music. Presented by two local arts organizations, Gourmet Symphony and Capital City Symphony, the program provides meals, performances, and fellowship to DC’s residents in need.
As part of Taste Your Music, this past June we welcomed a professional string quartet for a chamber music concert to our rooftop patio for the first time ever! The musicians performed for our staff and clients, sharing their talent and love for music with all present.
Hey, guess what, everyone???
Bread for the City is pleased to announce that we received a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide quality primary care to under-served DC residents. And this grant isn’t just a new source of funding for us – it means that our clinic is officially a full Federally-Qualified Health Center! (Or FQHC –and brace yourself for more acronyms to come, as this is a blog post about the federal government).
Over the past year, Bread for the City has had the pleasure of working with a team of pro bono human resource consultants in partnership with the Taproot Foundation. The goal of this partnership was to improve our volunteer program. Since our founding, service has been a pillar of our work at Bread for the City. Volunteers assist in all of our core service areas providing both direct and indirect services to help us accomplish our mission.