Blog For The City

Bread for the City Remembers Judy Stahl

Judy Stahl

Bread for the City lost a dear friend recently, Judy Stahl. Judy served Bread for 22 years as a weekly volunteer, donor, advocate, and fundraiser. She loved our clients, our staff, and her fellow volunteers. She was smart, compassionate, and fun.

I had the privilege of speaking at Judy’s memorial service, and I thought that, to honor Judy, I would share my thoughts with you. Here goes…

“Thanks to Judy’s family for allowing me to speak at today’s memorial service. I’m extremely honored.

As you know, Judy volunteered at Bread for the City for many years, often with her band of merry women, Ellen Rosenthal and Muriel Martin-Wein. At Bread we provide food, clothing, medical, legal and social services. A big part of our mission is to alleviate the pain that poverty causes.

I really only got to know Judy during the past two years. She volunteered mostly out of our Southeast Center, and I spend most of my days working out of our Northwest Center. Still, as I began to think about Judy and my remarks today, immediately part of one my favorite poems came to mind. The poem is called Success, written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. In his poem, Emerson writes,

…to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.

When I emailed the staff to announce that Judy had passed, Social Worker Stacey Smith replied “… this brings a tear to my heart. I really enjoyed having Judy with us…. It will not be the same. I am personally touched by her true essence and the love she showed with the baked goodies and [her] sense of humor. She has really touched my life….. I will miss her so.”

Lynda, our SE Center Director said that “despite the fact that Judy came from such a different world than most of the people we serve, she was not only committed to helping them but seemed somehow connected to them and the struggles they faced.” Lynda chuckled when she shared that “even though we told Judy that volunteers should not give client’s money directly, when she felt only cash alone could address their problem, (the need to get an ID, or pay a small fine, or turn back on a cell phone) she took money from her own purse and gave it to people. She was simply unwilling to turn away from the person when she thought she could make a difference.”

And from Emily Torruellas “[My] final memory of Judy makes me smile: after Judy got the scrapbook [we made for her]…, she called to say thanks and spent the better part of 15 minutes telling me how amazing her Bread family was and how much she valued her work with the clients and specifically, Lynda. Judy wrote us a very kind thank you note that’s still on my desk.”

Perhaps, however, Lynda summed up the staff’s feeling best when she said, “Judy was one of us. She was family.””

We love you, Judy, and we miss you.

Judy Stahl and Valentine BreitbarthJudy Celebrating SE Center 10 Year Anniversary

 

 

We want YOU…to volunteer at City Orchard!

Bread for the City needs your help!

We are seeking volunteers to help plant sweet potatoes and strawberries at City Orchard–Bread for the City’s fruit orchard in Beltsville, MD. All of the fruit grown and harvested at City Orchard is distributed to Bread for the City clients through our two food pantries. This is a special, seasonal opportunity to help feed our neighbors in DC.CO volunteer

Bread for the City will provide on-site volunteer training and transportation for some volunteers. All experience and skill levels are welcome!

Volunteer shifts will run from 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM, not inclusive of travel time, on the dates below.

For each date, we are in need of 10 – 30 volunteers to help.

• Wednesday, May 27th – Sweet potato planting
• Friday, May 29th – Sweet potato planting
• Wednesday, June 3rd – Sweet potato planting
• Friday, June 5th – Strawberry planting

If interested, please contact volunteer@breadforthecity.org or call 202-595-7865.

Missed the gala? You missed a GREAT night!

bfc-gala15-3

WOW. Just WOW! That’s all there is to say about Saturday’s Good Hope Gala. We had a blast enjoying great food, bidding on awesome auction items, dancing the night away with the Brass Connection Band, and of course, raising money to support our poverty relief services in the District.

How much money, you ask? Together, we shattered all of our goals and raised a whopping $770,000 through our Good Hope Gala. Nowbfc-gala15-2 that deserves a virtual round of applause!

Keep the applause going for the 425 guests who packed the house and kept the momentum high all night long. Our guest list included more than 30 amazing BFC clients, who inspired us on Saturday and continue to inspire us every day.

We also had a chance to share a brand new video celebrating client-led victories–check out the video here!

Our successes on Saturday and all year round wouldn’t be been possible without you: our friends and neighbors. 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!

100,000 reasons to celebrate Bread’s work!

With the excitement of our 2015 Good Hope Gala in the air, I am feeling very proud—proud of my staff who work so tirelessly; proud of our volunteers and donors who give of themselves so selflessly; and proud of our clients, whose strength and resilience guide all that we do.

And now, we have even more to celebrate! In honor of our gala, an anonymous donor has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, all gifts made to Bread for the City today up to $100,000.

Can you help us meet this match with your gift of $100?

When you give to Bread for the City, you allow us to help people like Chearie, a client leader who says,Whenever you’re hungry, they feed you. You need clothes, they clothe you. You’re going through something mentally, they’ve got help there. Whatever problem you have going on in this city, they’re gonna help you.”

Chearie is just one of the 33,000 people we serve each year. We do a lot at Bread for the City, but we believe that we have the responsibility to do more. And you can help!

Join us as we embark on our next step forward. Make your $100 gift today and have it doubled!

Bread’s Annual Yoga Retreat

Yoga retreat

Yoga retreat

On May 4th, we held our annual Bread for the City Yoga Retreat.

For those not familiar, our yoga instructor Debbie Sheetz, invites the regular participants of her class once a year out to her house in Stanardsville, VA for a more in-depth session in a natural setting.

This year seven clients and one volunteer, Eryn Trauben, joined me in making the two-hour plus drive out to the edge of the Shenandoah Mountains. While we greatly enjoyed the yoga on Debbie’s deck, we also enjoyed swimming in the lake, canoeing, kayaking, and making a hearty vegetarian meal together in her kitchen. It was also a great time to just be in nature together, breathing the fresh air and listening to the wind in the trees.

Thank you to Kathryn Harris and Desmond Leary for their wonderful pictures that capture our afternoon of relaxation and reflection.

Yoga will continue meeting the first and third Thursdays of the month at noon in the medical waiting area. If you, or someone else you know, is a yoga instructor looking to join Debbie in teaching this class, please contact me at twhelden@breadforthecity.org or 202-480-8964.

Yoga retreat 2

The wait is over!

We are pleased 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…

Top Gun Experiencetop-gun 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.

Relax in Palm Desert – Get out of town and head to Omni’s incredible Rancho Las Palmas Resort for a five-night stay. Get ready to indulge in the resort’s spa, 27-hole championship golf course, 450-foot lazy river, cliff-side Jacuzzi, and much more!

Tennis, Anyone? – Enjoy the best seats in the house at this summer’s Citi Open Tennis Tournament. Treat yourself and a friend to two seats in a Platinum Baseline Box, an experience that includes an invitation to an exclusive Q&A with a top-seeded player.

Beach Week in the Outer Banks – Spend 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.

VIP Dinner Party with Charcadia farmef Kyle Bailey – Be the host(ess) with the most(est) at your own dinner party for 10! Hosted al fresco at the idyllic Arcadia Farm, Chef Kyle Bailey of DC’s Birch & Barley and ChurchKey will prepare a four-course gourmet dinner with drink pairings. Come hungry!

Key West Getaway – Head down to Key West for a week to explore all that the Florida Keys have to offer. Stay in a two-bedroom, fully-furnished ocean view condo with a private balcony, located just one mile from the beach.

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.

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.

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!

Stroke Awareness Day: Dia de Mayo

On average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds.

Someone dies from a stroke on average every 4 minutes.

Strokes are the leading cause of disability in the United States.

WithStroke Awareness 8 such jarring statistics, it’s a wonder that we don’t talk about or hear more about stroke prevention. Despite the tremendous toll strokes take, the vast majority of Americans do not think of strokes as a major health concern.

Well today, through a partnership with the American Heart Association and DC Stroke Collaborative, Bread for the City took the opportunity to raise awareness and teach people the signs of a stroke during this American Stroke Month.

At our Northwest Center, DC Stroke Collaborative was on site teaching clients, staff and visitors how to spot a stroke FAST. The FAST acronym stands for: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911.Stroke Awareness 5

Jennifer Knittig, RN said “Sibley Memorial Hospital is excited to here and bring stroke education and awareness to the community that we are a part of. ” She continued, “High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke and we know that Bread for the City serves an “at-risk” community so we wanted to focus our efforts and educate those that need it most.”

For those in attendance, there was free healthy food, cooking demonstrations, a garden tour, CPR demonstrations, interactive activities, prizes and more!

El Zol 107.9 was also on site  broadcasting live!

DC StrokStroke Awareness 6e Collaborative is a collection of seven local hospitals who are all dedicated to reducing the number of deaths from stroke. Some of the hospitals represented on site were Howard University Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Providence Hospital and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Bread for the City was thrilled to be able to bring this event to our community at large. Stroke Awareness 10We know that the dozens of people in attendance learned a good deal about preventing a stroke, recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and how to create and stick to a healthy diet.

We look forward to more collaborations as we strive for a healthier DC!

 

 

 

Glean with us!

Glean for the City logoThis past Sunday, we kicked off our 2015 season of gleaning!

For those not familiar, Glean for the City is a program through which Bread for the City rescues thousands of pounds of free, fresh surplus produce from Farmers’ Markets in and around DC, MD and VA. This innovative program goes a long way towards making our community healthier and happier.

On Sunday, we worked with a wonderful group of volunteers from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine who are at the beginning gleaningof their annual month-long “Bates Days of Service”. For these students, volunteering with Bread was one way to get involved in informed civic action and stewardship of the wider world.

We are so grateful for their time and energy.

Our driver and all-around Food Program Amazing Guy Keith, took the truck out to West End Farmers Market in Alexandria, VA. He was able to glean from four farmers and one baker and brought us back a bounty of fresh turnips, kale, spring onions, cilantro, lettuce, and more. Plus, loaves and loaves of freshly-baked bread!

The Bates volunteers gathered at the Northwest Center and spent the afternoon hours sorting and bagging the produce for clients that would be needing it the next day.

In addition to the West End Farmers Markets, Keith will spend weekends from May to October gleaning at Eastern Market in DC and the monthly Whole Food Farmers’ Market in Congress Heights, DC. We’re always thrilled with our haul from the Whole Foods Market because not only do we get fresh fruits and veggies, but from that gleaning trip, we’re also able to provide our clients with organic chicken, turkey and other meats.glean 2

So, do you ever have too much produce? Maybe your home garden is overflowing with tomatoes, the tree out front is laden with apples, or you inherited an extra CSA share this week? Please consider bringing your extra produce to one of our locations between 9:00 am-5:00 pm Monday-Thursday, and we will happily distribute the food through our pantry.

Contact volunteer@breadforthecity.org if you have any questions.

 

 

Good Hope Gala here we come!

We’re counting down the days until our upcoming Good Hope Gala–just 19 days to go!

On May 16th, we’re bringing our friends and neighbors together for a night of fun and dancing at our largest fundraising event of the year. Can we count you in?

As if the pleasure of our company wasn’t enough incentive, there are loads of reasons why this event is one you can’t miss! Here are your top 5:

5. Allergy season got you down? We’re here to help you ditch the Beltway Blues with awesome vacation packages up for grabs. Participate in our live auction and bid on great vacations to Palm Desert, Rio de Janeiro, and Key West.

4. At our Good Hope Gala, we’ll dance the night away with the help of the Brass Connection Band, who will join us at the Omni Shoreham instead of their usual outpost at Gallery Place.

BFC tees

3. Limited-edition BFC apparel? YES, PLEASE! At our Good Hope Gala, you’ll be among the first to have access to brand new BFC baseball caps and BFC umbrellas. Or, take a walk down memory lane by purchasing a vintage BFC tee! Since our founding in 1974, we’ve donned swag with several unique logos. Unlike shoulder pads or scrunchies, you’ll be proud to sport these old-school looks.

2. DC Foodies will have the opportunity to indulge in our live auction dining packages–including a private dinner for you and your friends prepared by Birch & Barley’s Chef Kyle Bailey.

1. If all that’s not convincing enough, join us to help make our mission possible. Together, we’ll raise more than $500,000 to fund our poverty relief services here in the District. We can’t do that without you. Purchase your tickets today!

Delay the TANF Time Limit Cut & Protect 6,000 Vulnerable Families

In 2011, the District announced that it would implement lifetime time limits for receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

TANF is a federal benefit intended to provide income assistance, job training, and other services to low-income families with children. Before 2011, D.C. used local money to continue to provide the benefit for needy families even after they reached the 60-month limit covered by federal dollars.

After a series of gradual reductions, by October 2015 the District plans to terminate all TANF benefits for households who have received TANF for more than 60 months over the course of their lives. Without further action, more than 13,000 children in the District will fall deeper into poverty.tanf

At the outset, it’s important to remember that TANF is a benefit that is only available for qualifying families with children. Bread for the City is concerned about this “TANF cliff” and the effects it will have on our clients and their children.

Families who have received TANF for more than 60 months have already suffered several reductions since 2011—a family of three that has received TANF for more than 60 months now receives a maximum monthly amount of $153; compared to a maximum of $434 per month for a family of three who has received TANF for less than 60 months.

Bread for the City has joined with a number of local organizations to ask the D.C. Council to delay this final cut for another year. Delaying the “TANF cliff” will give Mayor Bowser’s new administration time to improve services and design a reasonable time limit policy.

TANF is not a “handout” program. The government is supposed to provide support and services to TANF recipient families to help them reach self-sufficiency. While the District has taken steps to improve the program, there are still gaps in the screening process used to determine what services families need to become self-sufficient. Some families may need only job search assistance, and some may face serious barriers to employment, such as physical and mental health problems, low cognitive functioning, and low levels of education.

Some of these barriers, such as domestic violence, allow TANF recipients to “stop the clock” while they get services and support that will help them to move forward with their lives. In our experience, even with the improved screening process, domestic violence survivors have not always been directed to the appropriate services, which would exempt them from counting time against their 60-month lifetime limit.

Even for families who do not qualify for an exemption, many reached their 60 months before recent improvements in employment screening and services were put into place. Imposing the time limit now is unfair because many families still have not had the opportunity to receive the services they need to succeed.

Our clients use TANF primarily for rent, though even the maximum TANF benefit does not go far in D.C.’s costly housing market. For those families that do not need to use their entire TANF benefit amount on rent, TANF goes towards transportation costs, personal hygiene items, diapers, and clothing. We anticipate more housing instability and clients unable to cover their basic needs if the final cut is not extended.

Additionally, families who are cut off TANF will not only lose the (already reduced) money, they will also lose the job training and other support services (since they will no longer be TANF recipients, they won’t qualify for those other programs). So they will really be left with nothing–neither money nor support services.

Join Bread for the City and Mayor Bowser in asking the D.C. Council to delay the “TANF cliff” for a year.