Blog For The City

Dr. Randi celebrates 25 years of service to the District

Please join us in congratulating our fearless leader Dr. Randi Abramson on a quarter century of service as our Chief Medical Officer!
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Dr. Randi’s kindness and knowledge have made her a favorite among our patients, and she truly embodies our values of dignity, respect, service, and justice.

“I could not be more proud of all she has accomplished, and I am blessed to be able to call her my mom.”– Eve Lieberman, Dr. Randi’s daughter.

Want to join in the love? Share your congrats on Twitter @BreadfortheCity or on Facebook. But the best recognition you can give is support of Dr. Randi’s beloved medical clinic. Will you give $25 in honor of her 25 years of committed service to the District?

Happy Breadiversary to my dear friend and colleague!

DC’s Housing Budget: Winning, Losing, and Building

The bad news is that DC’s housing crisis is way outpacing the city government’s political will to address it. The good news is that we’re organizing to change that.

This budget season, we joined other organizations in making modest asks which would have represented small dents in the city’s $13 billion budget. We won on some, and lost on others.

Bread client leader Zonia Godinez symbolically breaking down barriers to stability, as part of an action with Fair Budget Coalition outside the John A. Wilson Building

Bread client leader Zonia Godinez symbolically breaking down barriers to stability, as part of an action with Fair Budget Coalition outside the John A. Wilson Building

Bread for the City’s biggest priority was calling on the city to create a public housing fund, and to allocate $20 million for repair and restoration of public housing units. These repairs would improve people’s living conditions, and the restorations would convert blighted public housing units to livable homes – a quick and cost-efficient way to create places for people to live. We worked with groups like Fair Budget Coalition and longtime public housing organizers at Empower DC, and our leaders testified and lobbied elected officials, winning $15 million for the repair/restoration fund – a victory and a strong step, but not as much as we’d asked for, and not enough yet to cover the full need.

We also joined a Fair Budget Coalition call for $8.6 million in the Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP), including $3.6M for the project-sponsor-based program (subsidies for housing providers to create affordable units) and $5M for tenant vouchers (subsidies that stay with individual people, so they can pay 30% of their income for units on the private market, up to a certain level of rent). Neither the Mayor Bowser nor the DC Council added new funds for LRSP, except for a $423,000 addition for vouchers for low-income, returning citizen seniors.

The DC Housing Authority wait list remains closed to new applicants, with as many as 41,000 people on it, sitting in wait for as long as 28 years. And soon after it was reported that DC has its highest homeless population in 13 years, the mayor and council passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2017 that includes tax cuts for the wealthy, and insufficient, minimal increases in funding for affordable housing programs.

Meanwhile, despite all the need in DC, a second consecutive round of tax cuts will be implemented in FY17, turning 100% of city revenue growth above the previous year’s projections into tax cuts. Some $47 million of revenue growth already went to tax cuts last year, with another $140 million to be triggered in the future.

Leaders from Bread, Fair Budget Coalition, and So Others Might Eat (SOME) lobby for affordable housing and other budget priorities at Councilmember Brandon Todd’s office.

Leaders from Bread, Fair Budget Coalition, and So Others Might Eat (SOME) lobby for affordable housing and other budget priorities at Council-member Brandon Todd’s office.

These rounds of tax cuts are severely undermining the city’s ability to adequately fund critical services. Referred to as tax triggers, the plan pushed last year by Council Chair Phil Mendelson led to a series of tax cuts for low- and middle-income people last year, followed, this year, by cuts to the business franchise tax and elimination of taxes on estates worth between $1 and $2 million.

Bread for the City’s community organizers are working hard to recruit strong, brilliant leaders from our client community who are in search of housing or who have experienced housing instability in other ways, and who want to build a movement for truly affordable housing in DC.

Over the last few months, over a dozen have testified at the Council for the first time, helped organize and/or attended their first rallies, helped organize and run campaign meetings, and more. We’re just at the beginning, and we plan to continue growing stronger community power and achieving bigger gains to house many more Washingtonians.

We hope and believe that the new faces on the DC Council represent a popular dissatisfaction with the status quo, and that Council-members Trayon White, Robert White, and Vince Gray will work with us to quell the housing crisis in Washington, DC. Either way, we’re just at the beginning, and we plan to continue growing stronger community power and achieving bigger gains to house many more Washingtonians.

DC Council Considers New DMV Bill

Last week, the DC Council held a joint committee hearing to address several Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) related bills. Bread for the City staff member, Kathleen Stephan, along with multiple community advocates testified in support of Bill 21-0736 Improving Access to ID Documents Act of 2016. This act was co-introduced by Council-members David Grosso and Yvette Alexander in acknowledgement of the financial burden that obtaining an identifying document poses for low income residents.

In the following excerpt from her testimony, Kathleen explains the need for fee waivers for identifying documents such as a birth certificates, non-drivers IDs and licenses:

DMV hearing June 2016

Patricia Hernandez – Casa Ruby, Luis Ayala – Casa Ruby, Priscilla Skillman – Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church Transition Assistance Program, Jesse Rabinowitz – Miriam’s Kitchen

Across the city, there is extremely limited financial support for identifying documents.  Many low income residents do not currently qualify to have the DMV fee for a non-drivers ID waived, and there is no fee waiver for a driver’s license or birth certificate.  There are few places that cover these costs for clients, and the availability has shrunk even further since Miriam’s Kitchen ended their financial program last year.

This bill is an important step towards removing a barrier that keeps low income District residents from accessing important opportunities to support themselves and their families.  This action by the DC Council will help the clients we serve obtain their IDs in order to obtain employment, educational opportunities, and housing.  Thus, being able to obtain an ID is a critical foundation for self-sufficiency and will, in the end, save the District money by having residents who are less dependent on government services for support.

Bread for the City has long advocated for more accessible and low-cost options for obtaining identifying documents. In May 2014, the DC DMV implemented federal REAL ID standards that have had a profound impact on low income residents’ abilities to prove their eligibility for an ID or license. Bread for the City has advocated for more accessible policies along with community organizations such as Children’s Law Center, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, Foundry United Methodist Church, Miriam’s Kitchen and Transition Assistance Program at the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church. Representatives from these groups also gave testimony at the hearing and bolstered the importance of fee waivers to expanding ID access.

While Kathleen’s testimony focused primarily on fee waivers to expand ID access, other advocates and community members testified on Bill 21-0739, the Driver’s License Fair Access and Equity Amendment Act of 2016, a bill that Bread for the City also supports. This bill codifies that limited purpose credential seekers will no longer need to make an appointment in order to obtain an identifying document. It also ensures that the DMV provide interpretation services to all of their clients, thereby making IDs more accessible to all of our community members.

Bill 21-0738 Driver’s License Fair Access and Equity Amendment Act of 2016

Cue round of applause!

dental logo_greenYAY! With the help of neighbors like you, Bread for the City raised $26,926 on Do More 24!

And with our match, this means we raised a total of $51,926 in just 24 hours! We now have enough funding to move ahead with our plans to hire a dental hygienist who will help us care for approximately 200 more patients each year. WOW!

Thanks to you, the lights are on, our staff is here to work, and we’re able to continue helping our patients get the vital dental care they need.

These teeth aren’t going to clean themselves!

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Put yourself in Mrs. Grant’s shoes: you have a toothache, you call your dentist, and you find out you have to wait six weeks to get an appointment. Six. Weeks. Ridiculous, right? Unfortunately, that’s the average wait time to visit Bread for the City’s dental clinic. But this isn’t how we like to do things – we’re all about service with dignity and respect, after all – but the demand for our dental clinic has simply exceeded our staff capacity.

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Dr. Steven Myles

So, what are we doing about it? We’re glad you asked! Today is Do More 24, a city-wide day of giving. And we’re planning to raise the $25,000 it costs to hire a part-time dental hygienist! Will you help us get there?

But wait! It wouldn’t be Do More 24 without an extra something in the pot: we have a $25,000 match! So, if we hit our $25,000 goal before midnight tonight, we’ll really have $50,000. That’s TWO YEARS of funding for a hygienist, raised in ONE DAY!

Currently, our only dental provider is Dr. Steven Myles (or Dr. Smyles, as he’s known around here). He’s the best. In fact, the only thing that’s wrong with him is that he’s only one person. When Mrs. Grant couldn’t get an appointment with him for 6 weeks, she went to a different dentist, who pulled the offending tooth – a procedure that Dr. Smyles may not have done; but the pain was too much for Mrs. Grant to wait.

We are all quite frustrated that this happened. So that it doesn’t happen again, we’re hiring a part-time hygienist so that the dental clinic can schedule around 200 more new patients and Dr. Smyles can focus on more complicated procedures. With this extra help, patients like Mrs. Grant won’t have to wait six weeks to be seen. Will you help us see more patients in our dental clinic with a gift today?

Make a gift to Bread for the City today. You’ll double your impact and bring a smile to lots of faces!

 

$20,000 per month? Yes, please!

Bread and Butter club logoPeople always think of Bread for the City as just a food pantry, but we are so much more! Between our dental and vision clinics, 14 staff attorneys, job-readiness program, and more, we help nearly 35,000 adults and children every year. 

As you can imagine, it takes a lot to make all of this happen, and that’s where our monthly donor program comes in. The Bread and Butter Club is vital to sustaining our comprehensive services. And, if you join today, your gift will be matched each month for an entire year through our $20,000 Monthly Donor Matching Challenge!

The Bread and Butter Club is an easy and convenient way for you to support Bread for the City. Membership means that:

  • you’ll never have to think about writing a check
  • we’ll contact you less often
  • AND when you join today, your gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, for a whole year!

Will you join the Bread and Butter Club today to help our clients each month?

The work of fostering a city where all residents are healthy and housed requires a long-term commitment. Please stand with us today and have your gift DOUBLED!

Oh, What a Night!

We are all on cloud nine here at Bread for the City as we recover from Saturday’s absolutely AMAZING Good Hope Gala.  We welcomed over 480 of our friends and neighbors to enjoy great food, bid on awesome auction items (Hamilton tickets that sold for $7,000!), dance the night away with the JoGo Project, and, of course, raise money to support our poverty relief services in the District.BFTC_324

And when we say raise money…we really mean it!  We stepped up our game this year and, together, we raised a record $1,050,000 through our Good Hope Gala. Now that deserves a virtual round of applause!

Our 480 guests packed the house and kept the momentum going all night long. The guest list included more than 30 amazing BFC clients, who inspired us on Saturday and continue to inspire us every day. Chearie shared with us her inspiring story of how she came to Bread for the City and all the ways in which we were able to help and encourage her. We also honored BFC CEO George Jones to celebrate his 20th anniversary here at BFC.

Our successes on Saturday and all year round would not be possible without you: our supporters and friends. You are behind every bag of groceries we distribute, every patient we treat, and every person to whom we provide guidance and support.

Thank you for standing with us!

Check out all the photos and a video from the gala today. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

Women’s Wellness Day 2016

Many of the women who walk into our doors are dealing with constant stress due to finances, employment, housing, and much more. These women rarely have time to spend on themselves and to make themselves a priority. Bread for the City’s Women Strong program helps women living in SE DC deal with these stresses.

On April 22nd, we held our annual Women’s Wellness Day event where women came together at R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center26590022591_1fa614f671_o to learn about the importance of self-care and also have the opportunity to be pampered. The event included education on oral health and emotional trauma, drum meditation, massages, yoga, raffle prizes, and much more!

The program began with the reading of a powerful poem by Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” and the first of many raffles, with prizes including BFC t-shirts and gift cards to TJ Maxx and Regal Theatres.

Our very own Dr. Myles spoke to the women about the importance of oral health. He urged them to put their needs first, even amidst their super busy lives that involve taking care of everyone else. “Leave this earth with what you came with,” Dr. Myles advises, giving advice that goes far beyond just oral care. He urged these women to take c
harge of their own health and left them all with an oral health goodie bag.

Therapist Rebecca Helem talked to the women about emotional trauma and the importance of finding your own therapeutic practices that can help you feel better. Women opened up to share their own personal experiences, the trauma in their lives, and how they have learned to not only cope but to move past it.

A powerful drum meditation was led by Richael Faithful who invited the women to close their eyes and focus inward to be in the present.

Women’s Wellness Day ende26049810094_4bcaca5b03_od with “Pamper Me” stations where women could practice yoga, get their nails done, receive relaxing massages, and pick out new bras. Former BFC board member, Carol Preston, collected over 700 donated bras to be given to these women! Each participant left the event in style with a crocheted flower made by BFC’s crochet class and an Athleta gift bag!

Women’s Wellness Day 2016 was a huge success! Many thanks to all those who made it happen and to the incredible women that came to celebrate themselves and each other!

For more photos from the event, check out our album on Flickr!

Bread for the City’s WomenStrong DC is proud to be a consortium member of WomenStrong International (WSI), a new network of organizations worldwide dedicated to empowering women and girls and to sharing what works. For more, and to learn what you can do as part of this effort, see www.womenstrongintl.org.

 

 

The Wait is Over!

We are excited to reveal the lineup of super-duper, ultra-exclusive, extra-special opportunities that will be up for grabs during this Saturday’s Good Hope Gala live auction.

Drumroll please…

Take Me Out to the Ballgame! – The Nats are going all the way this year, we can feel it! Catch the team as they face off against the San Francisco Giants. Treat yourself and three friends to seats in the Dugout Box- prime seats for your game-viewing pleasure.

Welcome to Miami – Party in the city where the heat is on! Stay at The Betsy hotel, a beachside haven in South Beach, and eat your heart out at Joe’s Stone Crab, a historic seafood hot spot.

Hello… it’s Adele! – Missed your chance to snag tickets to Adele’s stop in DC? We’ve got you covered. You’ll get to see her at the Verizon Center in floor seats!

Beach Week in the Outer Banks – Enjoy a week at a six-bedroom beach house in Duck, NC. This vacation package has everything you need (including a hot tub!) for a fun-filled week-long vacation.

Hooked on Fishing in St. Michaels – Meet Captain Herman Haddaway on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for a half-day private fishing trip for up to three people. This package even includes a one-night stay at the scenic Hambleton Inn in St. Michaels, MD.

Jet Off to Rio! – Hop on a jet plane to exotic Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a one-week stay in a luxurious one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city.

Dining Out in DC All Year Long – Treat yourself to the ultimate DC foodie package with gift certificates to 12 area restaurants, one for each month of the year.

Top top-gunGun Experience – Do you have what it takes to be a fighter pilot for a day? With this package, you’ll get to fly a real military fighter jet with an instructor pilot for the thrill of a lifetime.

Viva Las Vegas! – Jet off to Las Vegas and spend two nights in a terrace studio at The Cosmopolitan. Located right on the Vegas Strip, you’ll have everything you need right there. You can also spring for a special dinner with your $100 dining credit.

Hamilton in NYC – See the sold-out sensation Hamilton in NYC during your July 4th weekend getaway to The Big Apple. This packages includes a two-night stay in a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side, dinner for two at E&E Grill House, and two tickets to Hamilton!

It’s not too late to join us as we auction off these exciting packages. Purchase your gala tickets today at www.breadforthecity.org/Good-Hope-Gala-Tickets.

See you Saturday!

Thank you, Good Hope Gala sponsors!

With our annual Good Hope Gala just days away, we can’t tell you how grateful we are for the 100+ corporations and individuals throughout DC and across the nation that have come forward as sponsors of our largest event to date.

There are a lot of great perks that come with sponsoring our gala as an individual or a corporate partner, but the best benefit of all is the fact that our sponsors are so critical in helping Bread for the City continue doing what we do best–providing food, clothing, medical care, legal and social services to more than 34,000 DC residents every year.

Please join us in thanking all of our individual sponsors and corporate partners. Want to join this amazing group of BFC supporters? Contact Amanda Nover, Corporate Partnerships Manager, at anover@breadforthecity.org.

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Mark & Cindy Aron
The Dweck Family
Mayberg Family Foundation
Katherine & David Bradley
George & Carol Jones
Cynthia Krus & George Corey
Ellen & Roy Rosenthal
G. Paul Moates & Constance Sadler
American Airlines
Forest City Washington
Gary & Carol Berman
CoStar Group
Tanisha Carino & Jalyn Henton
Dentons US LLP
Kristin & Mike Foti
Louise Hilsen & Donald Foley
Marie & William Hoffman
The JBG Companies
Novartis
The Bernard & Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Derek Thomas
Alan & Miriam Pemberton
Rosalind & Donald Cohen
Craig & Belinda Stevens
Donald Friedman & Rhona Wolfe Friedman
Carter Phillips & Sue Henry
Nowell & Michele Rush
Jeannine Sanford & Charles Parker
Irma Poretsky
Steuart & Linda Thomsen
Chris & Meg Wilber
Jon Fee & Joan Suttin Fee
Reformation Fitness
Randi Abramson & Michael Lieberman
David & Adrienne Umansky
Sharon & Charles Bates
Carpe DC Food Tours
Mary A. Christie
Janet & Michael Cornfeld
Abbie & William Eckland
Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Giant Food
Jon & Jennifer Glaudemans
Hollingsworth LLP
Mark Hopson
Peter & Susan Keisler
Toks Exum Ladejobi
Elizabeth & Henry Linsert
Liz & David Nover
David & Katherine Pastrick
Lester Poretsky Family Foundation
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Richard Rome
Matthew & Marjorie Schneider
Paul & Claudia Taskier
Emily & Brian Torruellas
Vinson & Elkins LLP
Ed & Barbara Zinbarg
Garvey Schubert Barer