The Shutdown Is Over (For Now); Bread for the City Is Still Here
On behalf of the entire Bread for the City family, I want to thank everyone who supported our efforts to feed furloughed federal employees in their time of need. You stepped up and gave a little more so your neighbors wouldn’t have to worry about where the next meal was coming from.
While the government has reopened, federal workers have not yet received back pay from their one month of missed wages. I want to assure the DC community that we are still here for any previously furloughed worker still in need of food or other services.
Often lost in the shutdown shuffle was the impact on federal contractors — many of whom were furloughed right alongside their government counterparts and will not get the benefit of backpay. Bread for the City is here for you, too. If any federal contractor who is also a DC resident is in need of food – until you are fully back on your feet, visit our NW or SE service center for a five-day supply of groceries.
I’m happy the government is open, as a prolonged shutdown would’ve had catastrophic impacts on our regional economy, federal workers and eventually, our regular clients, many of whom rely on meager but critical public benefits to get by.
While this latest man-made crisis may not be our last, it gave me a lot to think about. I’m thankful that Bread for the City was able to stand in the gap for those who wouldn’t normally come through our doors. But, it’s also made me think about those who do.
During the shutdown, there were no shortage of stories of federal and contract workers having to make tough decisions. Between paying rent and buying medication. Previous luxury items cut without a second thought. Negotiations with landlords and creditors. As the nation’s civil servants get back to work, I hope we don’t forget about those who make tough decisions every day. While the gainfully employed should never have to depend on our services, the reality is, nobody should have to make those decisions. If it is intolerable that federal workers would have to stand in line for food, it should be intolerable that our elderly and disabled neighbors have to stand in line for food.
We should be outraged to live in a city where more than 109,000 residents are at or below the poverty line, with a family of four surviving on $25,100 or less per year.
We should be outraged to have an affordable housing crisis when construction cranes litter our skylines and countless luxury units sit vacant.
We should be outraged that we have some neighborhoods that work and some neighborhoods that don’t: neighborhoods where access to jobs, food, housing that isn’t falling down, and quality health care are a luxury instead of a given.
In the coming months, Bread for the City will be stepping up our advocacy and organizing efforts around racial equity and social justice. We will still be the same direct services organization DC has come to know for the last four decades. But it’s also time for us to do more and give more to our city and our region. People won’t have to beat the odds if we change the odds.
It’s time to change the odds, and I hope you’ll continue to support our efforts.
During the shutdown, Bread for the City received several messages and donations from groups eager to support our additional efforts of providing food to furloughed workers. Thank you to the World Bank Community Connections Program, the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, Share Our Strength, Aronson LLC, Dickinson Wright, the Morrison & Foerster Foundation, Soapbox Soaps, LLC, Clean the World, and individual donors from around the country. Thank you for helping us through this time.