Blog For The City

Our Annual Report: A Year of Growth!

With over 7,400 volunteer hours and $7,963,163 donated dollars, you’ve helped Bread for the City provide food, clothing, medical and dental care, legal assistance, and social services to more than 33,000 people this year.


Here’s the breakdown:

You fed 24,915 people this year!

Obama family volunteering

For forty years, our food pantry has served our city’s most vulnerable residents — senior citizens, people with disabilities, and families with children. We just didn’t have the capacity to feed everyone, so we focused our resources on what we believed to be the greatest need.

But times have changed, and more people need our help. Because of your incredible support, we expanded our food program this year! You helped us lift the final restriction on our food pantry to feed our city’s working poor and unemployed adults. Plus, our newest urban agriculture, City Orchard, celebrated its first full growing season by providing our clients with over 14,000 lbs. of fruit and vegetable bounty. Thank you for joining us in the fight against hunger!

George working at City OrchardHOMELESSNESS
You helped 296 people keep their homes!

With your support, our housing case managers and lawyers have been able to connect our city’s low-income residents with affordable housing, and help them keep their homes.

Around 7,750 people in DC are experiencing homelessness right now, and affordable housing has dwindled by more than half over the last decade. This year, our Housing Access Program saw around 40 people each week, who came to us for help identifying and applying for affordable units in buildings across the city. Housing is a fundamental part of creating stable families – thank you for working with us to address this inequity in our city.

You ensured access to healthcare for 2,886 people!

In the spring, we became a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike! This will allow us to expand our coverage of DC’s medically-vulnerable through increased patient reimbursements for our patients on public insurance plans.

We’ve already hired new providers and implemented services like behavioral health. With your support and with new funding streams like FQHC, we are able to sustainably support our growing clinic.

You helped our social workers provide compassionate care and resources through over 9,700 client visits.

With your help, Bread for the City social workers enabled clients to access public benefits, receive referrals to complementary service organizations, and aided them in addressing long-term problems like lack of affordable housing, unemployment, and substance abuse.

You provided 5,142 people with public benefits, eviction prevention, and safety from domestic violence.

Your support means that BFC clients with substandard housing can find clean, safe homes. It means that your neighbors’ involved in a custody dispute can resolve their problems so that their children receive the financial and emotional support to which they are entitled. And it’s no exaggeration to say that you helped save lives through our Domestic Violence Community Legal Services Project. Thank you!

Still, 108,732 people are living in poverty here in DC. People like Kiara, who came to Bread for the City as a homeless mother in search of housing, employment, and food for her two-year old son. “Some days I felt like I didn’t have a place in the world because I didn’t have a job or a place to live,” says Kiara.

With your help, our newly expanded Food Program ensured that Kiara and her son had enough to eat. Our caseworkers secured transitional housing for the young family. And our Pre-Employment Program prepared Kiara to join the workforce.

It paid off. Within weeks, Kiara secured an internship with the DC government and enrolled in her first semester of college. Today, Kiara and her son are thriving.

Bread for the City spent 2014 helping thousands of DC residents, just like Kiara, find stability. We couldn’t have done it without your support.

Thank you, and we’ll see you in 2015!Happy new year

#GivingTuesday 2014

Tuesday after Thanksgiving, or #GivingTuesday, is a nationwide movement to put the giving spirit back into the holiday season.

In our food pantry, we are currently spending $12.84 on meals that cost us $11.32 in 2013. This is an 11% increase that, when compounded with an increase in service numbers, left us more than $40,000 over budget for the fiscal year.

BFC Giving Tuesday logo

On December 2, 2014 -#GivingTuesday – Bread for the City set out to raise $20,000 to close this budget gap. Because of our very generous donors, we were incredibly successful! We raised over $46,000! Plus, every dollar up to $20,000 was matched, giving us a total of $66,000 raised all in one day!

Here are the #GivingTuesday numbers:
• 24 hours!
• 153 donors contributed!
• $66,000 raised!

After the truly amazing show of support, we have been able to close the gap in our food budget –which means that we can continue feeding more DC residents than ever before.

We extend a very special thanks to all of our donors on #GivingTuesday!

Bread for the City’s CEO statement on Mayor Marion Barry

With the recent passing of “Mayor for Life” Marion Barry, Jr., the city of Washington, DC has lost not just an icon and leader, but a steadfast supporter of and fierce advocate for residents of Wards 7 and 8.

Mayor Barry, a civil rights activist from a small town in Mississippi, came to DC in 1965 at the age of 29 and made it his life’s mission to champion the poor, under-served and under-represented of the city. It is no coincidence that during my 19 years as CEO of Bread for the City, I sat before him and his fellow DC Council members countless times appealing for justice for this very same community.

Marion BarryAs Mr. Barry ascended the political ladder, he never abandoned the people who relied on him to have their voices heard and their needs met. He expanded economic opportunities, created jobs and steadfastly supported the influx of black-owned businesses into DC.

While I did not know Mayor Marion Barry personally, I know that he was a persuasive and astute politician who radiated charisma, and despite the scandals that somewhat tainted his career, earned a huge and loyal base of supporters.

One just has to look at the several impressive contributions made during his time in leadership, including leading the redevelopment of once dilapidated Union Station and managing the development of the Reeves Center, to know that Mayor Barry was committed to improving the city of Washington, DC. The city also owes Mayor Barry a debt of gratitude for helping to revitalize downtown Washington.

Ultimately, Mayor Marion Barry was important to me because he cared about the same causes that Bread for the City advocates for – ensuring that vulnerable DC residents have access to affordable housing, quality healthcare, nutritious food, and equal access to justice. For that, I will always be thankful for his decades of leadership.

May Mayor Marion Barry rest in comfort.

Bread for the City’s Aja Taylor wins Activist Award

Every year, the Washington Peace Center honors the hard work and success of several outstanding activists in Washington, DC. This year, on Thursday, December 11th at 6:30 pm, the Activist Awards Grassroots Gala will not only celebrate local activists, they will throw a 10th anniversary party for the entire community!

Bread for the City’s Community Organizer Aja Taylor, will be honored at this year’s award for her work on the Fair Criminal Records Screening Act of 2014, commonly referred to as “Ban the Box” legislation. Aja TaylorOn July 14, 2014, the DC City Council passed the strongest legislation against hiring discrimination and wage theft in the country. Both the Wage Theft Prevention and Fair Criminal Records Screening Act (Ban the Box) passed with a final vote of 13-0.

This was a tireless fight that could not have been won without effective coalition work, engagement of returning citizens at each step of the process, and effectively engaging our communities to act. Because of the collective work, persons with criminal or arrest records will not have to check a box on an application that identifies them as someone with a record. Employers will have to wait until after a conditional offer has been made to look into someone’s criminal history, which will allow them to make a final hiring decision based more so on merits than on preconceived notions of what it means for someone to be a returning citizen.

“I am of course thrilled to have been nominated and selected as one of this year’s awardees but the only reason this was successful was because it was a collaborative effort,” says Aja. “If it weren’t for incredible client leaders, fellow organizers at the Employment Justice Center, amazing partners like the DC Jobs Council, Re-entry Network for Returning Citizens, the Employment Justice Center, Public Defender Service, Sasha Bruce YouthWork, and Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, we would not have the strong bill that we have.”

All of us at Bread for the City are proud of Aja and join The Washington Peace Center in inviting you to “dust off your tutu and party shoes” and come celebrate the work of Aja and the other activists being recognized on Thursday. You’re in for great performances, free soul food from Woodlands Vegan Bistro, a cash bar, fun dancing, kid-friendly activities, awesome silent auction baskets and more! Pull out your 80’s tux, prettiest cocktail dress or favorite pair of jeans, because this is a Grassroots Gala.

Tickets are still available for purchase here!

The awards ceremony will take place at 6:30 pm on December 11th at St Stephen’s Church at 1525 Newton St NW, Washington, DC 20010.

Please join us as we celebrate Aja, her work and the work of all the other deserving awardees!

Bread welcomes our newest physician Dr. Monica!

Here at Bread for the City, we are always excited to welcome in new staff members! For us it means that we have another soul dedicated to providing vulnerable residents of Washington, DC, with comprehensive services, including food, clothing, medical care, legal and social services, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

Our new staff member is Dr. Monica Vohra!Dr. Monica

Dr. Monica, welcome to Bread for the City! Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Gaithersburg, MD.

What did you do work-wise, before Bread For City?
I just completed my residency training at Washington Hospital Center in Internal Medicine in July so this is my first job and I couldn’t be more excited!

What made you want to work at BFC?
I did a rotation here during residency and loved the energy, patients and mission here at Bread. I wanted to be in an environment where I could not only practice medicine but learn from my colleagues about the other challenges my patients face.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job at BFC so far?
Forming a long term relationship based on trust, support, and mutual respect. Now that I’ve been here for a few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to see some patients more than once allowing me to develop a stronger relationship which is very rewarding.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I love to run and go hiking!

Some of our Awesome Volunteer Partners

Last week, Bread for the City welcomed in some amazing volunteers to help with our Holiday Helpings campaign. Among them were the enthusiastic students from Center City Public Charter School – Brightwood Campus, MCN Build, Navigant Consulting and Clark Construction.

At BFC, our volunteers and donors are the ones that make it possible to do what we do. We are most appreciative of your help and support!

Navigant Staff

Navigant Consulting staff

Clark Construction Staff

Clark Construction staff

MCN Build staff

MCN Build staff












Center City Brightwood

Center City Charter School students

It’s not too late to donate to our Holiday Helpings campaign! Our goal is to feed 9,000 low-income families in Washington, DC this holiday season, and just $58 provides a complete holiday meal for TWO families! Please consider joining our superb volunteers in their support. Donate here:

Sewing Classes at Bread for City!

Did you know there are sewing classes at Bread for the City?  Every Tuesday at 10:30 AM a group of seamstresses (and seamsters) gathers at our NW center to share ideas and inspiration for everything needle-and-thread related.Sewing photo 4

Lead by longtime volunteer and 2014 Good Hope Award Winner June Wilson, the class is informative, fun, and lately, packed! All skill levels are welcome – some have never sewn before, some are eager to brush up on rusty skills, while others want to share their knowledge with their peers. “I can sew by using a pattern, but if I don’t have a pattern I can improvise as well,” says Hilda Dozier.

At Bread for the City we recognize that fostering wellness isn’t just about making sure people have things like food and medicine, but addressing all the needs of a complete human life. Are people creatively satisfied? Do they have a time and space for socializing and camaraderie? Events like sewing class let people explore these options for enriching their lives.

Sewing photo 2People sew for all kinds of reasons – for practical need, creative expression, and fun! But sharing your sewing knowledge with others is a way to share your whole life, as well. These skills come to us often from older generations. As Hilda Dozier can recall about her childhood, “…My brother was able to fit my father’s pants, but they had to be hemmed at the bottom. Once my mother would hem the bottom of the pants, I’d ask her for the materials and use it to make clothes for my Barbies- and the rest is history!”

Sewing is a great way to make new things out of old, which is not only good for your wallet, but for the environment as well. “I use items like pants, shirts or so on and fold them in half to make my own”, says Hilda. Sewing is also proving to be a popular class- just this last week there were four new members and the conference room was packed with enthusiastic craftspeople of all genders. Exciting though this is, it also means that the materials needed (fabric, thread, pins, needles, and machines) are stretching thin. Please visit our “Wishlist” if you would like to help out with a donation! photo 1

Don’t believe us about the value of this class for our clients? Hear Carolyn Wright tell it in her own words -“Last year, I came to Bread for the City for something else, and I seen the sign about a sewing class. All I want to do is to make stuff and do something with my hands. Thanks to Ms . June W. I learn how to make bags, pajamas, aprons, blouses shorts and now I’m quilting by hand, not by sewing machine. Ms. June W. also taught me how to crochet a throw blanket, cow neck scarfs, and dishcloths. And don’t want to forget about the SE crew at Bread for the City! I like to thank them too, and the fellowship we have with one another. Thank you Bread for the City for having this for people.”

Good Hope Awards Honorees, Part Three!

Every fall, Bread for the City honors the engine that keeps our organization running: our incredible volunteers! This week, we’re learning more about the honorees of our 2014 Good Hope Awards, which took place on October 23rd.

AWARD: Administrative Volunteer

HONOREE: Ms. Sandra Edwards

ACCOLADES:  If you’ve ever visited our SE Center, you’ve probably benefited from the service of Ms. Edwards. She is a dedicated volunteer who helps us keep our SE Center running smoothly by serving in an administrative role, including making copies, organizing our “Resource Wall” for clients, and assisting with our client calendar. In addition, Ms. Edwards has recently taken on a leadership position in Bread for the City’s Time Bank to advocate for Time Bank members and to help expand our Time Bank Community. We are grateful for Ms. Edwards’ support!

Sandra Edwards 2 (2)

AWARD: Pro Bono Partner


ACCOLADES:  Aronson LLC has contributed numerous hours of service worth thousands of dollars in technical assistance—dollars that allow Bread for the City to stretch our limited resources further so that we can provide more services to people in need. Kathryn L. Cuddapah, CPA, Senior Manager at Aronson LLC, has made a difference by helping us to prepare our tax returns, at no charge. We enjoy working with Kathryn, and she is always makes herself available for consultations as needed. Additionally, Bread for the City also has the great benefit of working with Craig Stevens of Aronson LLC as the Treasurer of our Board of Directors.

We appreciate the time, talent, and expertise that Kathryn, Craig and and others at Aronson LLC have contributed!aronson-llc (2)

AWARD: Social Services Volunteer

HONOREE: Myles Davis

ACCOLADES:  Myles Davis has been a very dedicated volunteer assisting the Representative Payee Program weekly for the past year.  Myles is always happy to help us keep the onslaught of mail and paperwork that we receive under control. He helps to sort and label piles of incoming mail for distribution to our partner agencies, and also scans documents into our electronic records system. This work can be a little tedious at times, but Myles has approached it with enthusiasm and perseverance. We would like to thank him for being such a dependable and hardworking helper for our team!Myles Davis 3 (2)

AWARD: Development Volunteer

ORGANIZATION: Dickstein Sharpiro

HONOREE: Rick O’Neill

ACCOLADES: Rick O’Neill has been volunteering with Bread for the City’s Development Department since 2009. Through this role, Rick provides pro bono legal counsel on all estate and tax matters for Bread for the City. Specifically, he helps by teaching donors and staff about the best ways to support our mission through estate planning. Estate planning is a complicated subject, but Rick knows how to explain the process in a way that lay-people can understand – not an easy feat. In addition to his contribution of expertise, we appreciate Rick because is very responsive to our requests, and he’s a really nice guy. Thank you, Rick, for helping us to grow!ONeill_James_Portrait_LR (2)

AWARD: Corporate Partner

ORGANIZATION: Clark Construction

HONOREE: Dave Pastrick

ACCOLADES:  Clark Construction has been a partner of Bread for the City’s since 2011. Clark volunteers have helped in many capacities, including sorting clothing, working in our gardens, distributing produce at our Free Farmers Markets, packing Holiday Helpings bags, planting trees at City Orchard, and even serving on our Board of Directors. Clark is always willing to help where needed and respond to our urgent requests, when other large groups cancel, or when we receive an unexpected—and large—donation of food or clothing.

In addition to contributing to our mission through service, they have given in other ways too! They supported the expansion of our NW Center, hosted Thanksgiving lunches with proceeds benefiting Bread for the City, and have co-hosted golf tournaments to also help raise funds for our programs.

We thank Clark Construction for their great dedication and support of our mission! Clark Construction (2)

Good Hope Awards Honorees, Part Two!

Every fall, Bread for the City honors the engine that keeps our organization running: our incredible volunteers! This week, we’re learning more about the honorees of our 2014 Good Hope Awards, which took place on October 23rd.

AWARD: Community Champion

HONOREE: Michael Park

ACCOLADES:  Michael Park, Esquire, is an attorney at Alston & Bird and has done extensive pro bono legal work to help Bread for the City in our efforts to become a certified Federally Qualified Health Care Center (FQHC) look-alike.  Michael and his firm worked with Bread for the City over many months to ensure that we understood the pro and cons associated with the FQHC look-alike status, and his work also included making a formal presentation to the BFTC Board and management staff.  Because of these tireless efforts, Bread for the City was officially certified as a FQHC look-alike in May of this year! Michael continues to provide advice and counsel regarding emerging questions concerning the look-alike program’s rules, regulations and other related matters. We thank Michael for his dedication and important work in helping to move Bread for the City forward!

Park-michael (2)

AWARD: Community Lawyering Project Volunteers

HONOREE: Chearie Phelps-El & James White

ACCOLADES: Chearie and James are two very engaged volunteers who were critical in the effort to organize Returning Citizens around Ban the Box. Ban the Box was a successful advocacy initiative in the District of Columbia to remove the checkbox from employment applications that requires applicants to disclose criminal convictions. This often leads to applicants never even being considered for employment, and is highly discriminatory.

Chearie played an important role in this process by giving interviews for news outlets (including NPR); speaking to the Washington Lawyers Committee; and also speaking in front of elected officials at a Ward 8 Tenant Town Hall Meeting about the difficulties faced by returning citizens as they try to find affordable housing in DC.Chearie (3)

James took the time to carefully craft and deliver testimony in front of DC Councilmember Tommy Wells, telling the story of his charges and of the constant discrimination he faced from employers, and he led the joint rally between the Wage Theft and Ban the Box coalitions.

Chearie and James deserve Good Hope Awards because they are the definition of what it means to embody hope. We thank Chearie and James for the time, energy and passion they have contributed!


James White 2 (2)

AWARD: Pre-Employment Program Volunteer

HONOREE: Josh Stierwalt

ACCOLADES:  Josh has been volunteering with Bread for the City for the past year in various capacities, but has dedicated most of his time to helping with our Pre-Employment Program. Through this role, Josh works directly with participants to provide life management and job readiness skills. Josh is an asset to the Pre-Employment Program because he is a non-judgmental presence, and he understands how to help people effectively address barriers connect with resources. In addition, Josh has also put his tech skills to work by creating a Pre-Employment Program Linked In page to help connect participants with each other and the larger community. We thank Josh for his dedication and the creativity he has contributed to the Pre-Employment Program!

Josh Stierwalt 3 (2)

Good Hope Awards Honorees!

Every fall, Bread for the City honors the engine that keeps our organization running: our incredible volunteers! This week, we’re learning more about the honorees of our 2014 Good Hope Awards, which took place on October 23rd. Drum roll, please…

AWARD: Housing Access Program Volunteer

HONOREE: Carolyn Peery

ACCOLADES:  Carolyn provides valuable support in the sometimes-chaotic environment of our Housing Access Program. She excels as a volunteer because she has a very caring personality and easily builds rapport with clients. Even in difficult situations, she comes from a place of understanding and she does not judge. She is dedicated, compassionate, and is always willing to stay until the job is done. When Carolyn is not assisting clients in the Housing Access Program, you can also find her helping out in our food pantry. It is clear that she enjoys the work she does with us, and we appreciate her even more!

Carolyn Peery 3 (2)

AWARD: Medical Volunteer

VOLUNTEER: June Wilson

ACCOLADES: June is a wonderful addition to our medical volunteer team!  As the instructor of our sewing class, she has been sharing new skills and offering a therapeutic learning environment to class participants. With June’s assistance we have been able to broaden the services of our “medical home” environment. Through her sewing class, June has developed relationships with a core group of patient students who enjoy the collaborative and creative process of sewing. We thank June for sharing her skills and passion with Bread for the City and helping us expand our services!

Sewing Class (2)

AWARD: Sustainable Agriculture Volunteer

HONOREE: Marline Coughman

ACCOLADES:  Over the course of each season in the Sustainable Ag Program, we have the opportunity to work with hundreds of volunteers and community members–but seldom do we have the opportunity to work with people from the beginning to the end of the season! Marline Coughman has been one of those volunteers who could always be counted on to enthusiastically attend events, rain or shine, with a positive attitude and unstoppable curiosity. The whole team appreciates her contributions to the SE Garden, to the Client Retreat and our Crop Mobs. We are thankful for Marline’s cooperative spirit and all she has given to the Sustainable Agriculture Program!Marline Coughman (2)

AWARD: Legal Partner


ACCOLADES:  DLA Piper has been involved with Bread for the City’s Kenilworth-Parkside Legal Clinic project for the past two years as the financial sponsor of our Equal Justice Works Fellow, Taylor Healy. The clinic, part of Bread’s Community Lawyering Project, provides legal services to people living in the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative footprint in Ward 7. This neighborhood is part of the Department of Education’s national Promise Neighborhood pilot project that aims to develop a “cradle to college” continuum of services to improve the outcomes of children and families.

DLA Piper has gone above and beyond providing generous financial support to the project by also dedicating hundreds of hours of pro bono time conducting legal intakes and representing clients in Landlord and Tenant court. The firm’s support has allowed more people to receive high quality representation in a court where over 95% of tenants do not have a lawyer. Furthermore, recognizing the importance of continuing our joint commitment to the neighborhood, DLA Piper recently went a step further; committing additional funding and pro bono attorney time to allow Taylor to continue and expand our scope of work in the community.

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