Blog For The City

Appreciating Our Social Workers

March was Social Worker Appreciation Month, and in the spirit of being thankful, we wanted to take a minute to share a little bit from a few of our social workers on staff!

Our SE Social Services Supervisor, Donnie Hampton, had the following to say about her work at Bread:

My favorite piece of working at BFC is being part of such a caring, professional team that tries every day to make a difference in the lives of the clients! Our work at BFC is important because we provide quality services to low-income residents that many times have been marginalized and disrespected due to their economic circumstances.

Stacey, Tracy, AliStacey Johnson, one of our NW-based social workers and in-house expert on DC’s various public/subsidized housing options, echoes Donnie’s sentiments:

I love that we have the information, resources, and skills to make a difference in people’s lives, be it a very short-term difference, like providing food for the day, or a long-term one, like assisting them in securing permanent housing or stable income. I also value the work environment, where our common goal is helping our clients and we are not motivated by personal success but by our shared desire to see our clients succeed.

The work we do is important because we are providing a service to those who need it. But even more important is the way that we provide those services. We treat our clients with dignity and respect, whether we are handing them a printout of phone numbers, talking through their options for making positive change, or talking with them about a mental health crisis.

We are lucky to have such a dedicated and skilled team of social workers at both our centers. They balance individual client caseloads with program management duties, and make time to be available whenever there is an emergency. Our social work team focuses on helping our clients increase stability in their lives by assisting in areas such as affordable housing access, budgeting and bill paying, employment skills development, disability benefits applications, and by providing or connecting with mental health and other supportive services.

Take a moment today to thank the social workers you know and to honor their continuous work towards change!

Adelaide finds a new home

When Adelaide Gomes learned that her landlord was selling her apartment, she was devastated. As a retired cashier living on a fixed income, she knew it would be hard to find another apartment that rented near $600 a month in her neighborhood. After all, Adelaide (then 82 years old) had lived on 17th Street, NW in that very same studio since 1969 — 43 years.

Adelaide“I will always appreciate her,” Adelaide says about her landlord, “She understood the challenges of finding a new apartment at my age with my income and told me to take my time moving.” Adelaide was happy to be able to take her time finding an apartment that she could afford.

An affordable apartment: that was the problem. She realized early on that finding an apartment she could rent on a fixed income would require some work.

Adelaide was no stranger to hard work. She came to the U.S. from Portugal in 1958 for a better life for herself and her sister. She quickly picked up several trades from shoe cobbling, to light bulb assembly.

“I always had multiple jobs, but I guess you could say that my real career began and ended at Sholl’s Cafeteria on K Street in DC. I was a cashier there for 36 years and at 71 years old, I was ready to retire.”

Adelaide spent months looking for housing in DC, but at her budget, it seemed impossible. The apartments that she could afford had no occupancy or had waiting lists in the 100s. She was having problems navigating the application process and the fine print. A residential manager at one apartment complex recommended that she come to Bread for the City for help.

How we were able to serve Adelaide:

  • Through our Housing Access Program, Adelaide was able to find subsidized apartment buildings that were accepting applications. With our help, she was able to get on the waitlists she qualified for and ultimately secure affordable housing.
  • We were able to offer her care in both our medical and dental clinics.
  • We helped her attain Medicaid.
  • She was able to take advantage of our food program where a 3-day supply of healthy groceries was available to her every month.

The results:

  • Adelaide moved into her new comfortable, safe, and secure apartment in February of this year: a community that offers affordable housing to low-income seniors or disabled persons at approximately 49% less than the average fair market rent in the Washington local area.

“You know, I have never ever lived in a one bedroom apartment, always studios. This was such a blessing to me. Bread for the City encouraged me with every visit, every phone call. Ms. Ashley, Mrs. Stacey, Ms. Jackie — they helped me in such a wonderful way. I have a big beautiful icebox, a big stove, a window above my sink, and everything is big and new. It’s wonderful.”

  • Adelaide’s monthly social security payments were increased by $100. Because she was able to qualify for Medicaid, she no longer had to pay the $100 premium per month for her Medicare (which was deducted from her SS check every month). Her medical expenses are now available to her at no cost. The only thing she must pay is a small copay for her prescriptions, which were reduced to around $2. 50 a piece from $20.
  • She was able to get a refund for a portion of medical bills that she already had paid. Because Medicaid is retroactive by 3 months, several of Adelaide’s payments for a surgery that she had in 2011 were refunded and the remaining balance was now covered!

Adelaide says that Bread’s comprehensive services have impacted her life in a big way. “Being able to play bingo with new friends in my beautiful apartment, seeing Dr. Myles’s loving face at my dental appointments at Bread for the City, and going to bed without stressing over my medical bills — those are all priceless things. I thank God for Bread for the City.”

Forty incredible years celebrated in one amazing night

Last Thursday, Bread for the City celebrated 40 years in a BIG way… a REALLY BIG way. How big? $740,000 BIG! Together, we defied all expectations at our largest event to date. We are so grateful for the generous support of the entire BFC family and the 500 friends who joined us at Thursday’s 40th Anniversary Gala.

Our gala attendees took a trip down memory lane as we reflected on our storied history. We’ve come a long way since our beginnings in rowhouse basement on 14th Street! But none of it would have 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!

Learn about our history by checking out our gala video:

Please join us in extending a special thank you to our 40th Anniversary Gala sponsors, whose support is so essential for funding our critical services here in the District. Thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Check out the photos from the event here. Thanks a million to Jessica Del Vecchio for documenting this amazing event!

We can’t wait to see each and every one of you next year!

Spring cleaning: Donate your gently used items to our clothing room

Spring_CleaningAre you cleaning out your closet this spring? Don’t throw away your old clothes! Keep Bread for the City’s Clothing Room in mind. We accept gently used men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing. We’re especially in need of plus-sized items, and due to limited space, we ask that the clothing be seasonally appropriate.

We also accept miscellaneous items — like children’s books and household goods!

Donate your gently used items to our Southeast Center at 1640 Good Hope Road, SE. We’re open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 5pm and Friday from 9am until noon.

For more information, see our guidelines for clothing donations.

Thanks for thinking of Bread for the City this spring!

Three cheers for our volunteers

Happy National Volunteer Week! This week, Bread for the City is celebrating the priceless contributions made to our organization by our dedicated corps of volunteers. We have a lot to celebrate…

City YearDid you know that Bread for the City relies on over 1,500 volunteers every year to deliver our programs and services? Not only do volunteers help us deliver direct services, such as distributing food to clients, sorting donations in our clothing room and providing medical care, but they also assist in advocacy efforts, support administrative projects, and provide ideas to move our mission forward. This is by no means an exhaustive list!

Beyond the precious gift of time, each and every one of our volunteers contributes a spirit of goodwill that provides hope to our community and positive energy to our staff. Yes, we can measure the number of meals distributed by volunteers or the number of hours they contribute. However, volunteers also contribute many intangible qualities, such as hope, that can’t be measured, but should most certainly be recognized.

To all of the volunteers who have dedicated time to Bread for the City, thank you. We appreciate you and hope you’ll continue to partner with us in this work for many years to come!

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Thank you, US Airways!

While we’re counting up the totals raised through our 40th Anniversary Gala, we can’t tell you how grateful we are for the more than 100 corporations and individuals throughout DC and across the nation that have come forward as sponsors of our largest event to date.


Deserving of a special shout out are our good friends at US Airways, who helped to make our 40th Anniversary Gala live auction a huge success. With US Airways gift certificates donated for all of our long-distance domestic and international vacation packages (exciting destinations like Rio de Janeiro and Las Vegas!), our auction winners have everything they need for an amazing vacation.

Through corporate philanthropy and employee volunteerism, US Airways helps to make our communities better places to live and work. As a US Airways representative puts it, “By giving back to organizations like Bread for the City, we can help our neighbors in need find a chance at a better life.”

US Airways has long been the sole airline sponsor of Bread for the City. We’re so grateful for their continued support!

100,000 reasons to celebrate Bread’s 40th

Bread for the City is celebrating a special milestone tonight with our 40th Anniversary Gala. Forty years of feeding the hungry. Forty years of treating the sick. Forty years of providing guidance and support to the District’s most vulnerable residents. It’s been quite a journey.

mbTo help us celebrate, an anonymous donor has pledged $100,000 to match, dollar for dollar, any gift made to Bread for the City for today only. Join the celebration by making a $40 gift in honor of our 40th — and know that it will be instantly doubled.

Bread for the City has come a long way over the years, and so too have the people we serve — people like Michael Blue. Because Michael’s courier job didn’t offer insurance, he came to Bread for medical care. And when his wife, Marnette, fell seriously ill, we treated her, too, and got her on the path to recovery. Today, both Michael and Marnette are thriving, and it’s all because of the support of people like you.

“I hope that when you give to Bread for the City, you get a certain sense of God, of faith, or even just of love,” says Michael. “And I want you to realize that your actions are cherished. We’ve never met, but you are in my prayers.”

Even if you can’t make it to our 40th Anniversary Gala tonight, you can still support Bread for the City and the next Michael who will come through our doors by making your gift of $40.

Double your impact by making a $40 gift before midnight tonight!

Bread for the City Community Cookbook Project


This month, Bread for the City hosted undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students from George Washington University’s ISCOPES program for a week-long community cookbook project.

ISCOPES (Interdisciplinary Student Community-Oriented Prevention Enhancement Service) is a health focused service-learning initiative that places GWU students from various fields of study in communities to address bigger picture health challenges through service.

For 8 hours per month September through April, students serve on project teams within these learning communities and tackle these health issues with multi-dimensional projects.

Bread for the City clients and friends were asked to share their favorite recipes and they did not disappoint!

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 12.58.03 PMWhat was the outcome? Fifty bound copies (and more to come) of an incredible collaborative cookbook that we are able to share with clients in our diabetes group and at other nutrition work shops.

Many thanks to everyone involved in this project! We’ve happily collaborated with GWU and the ISCOPES program for several years. This is just another example of the good that can come through community building.


Beautiful pictures courtesy of GWU!


Our 40th Anniversary Gala is just around the corner!

There’s excitement in the air here at Bread for the City as we prepare for our upcoming 40th Anniversary Gala–now less than two weeks away! On April 3rd, we’ll take a walk down memory lane as we celebrate our history and accomplishments. Will you be there?

We’ve got lots of goodies up for grabs at this one-of-a-kind event. With raffles, our live auction, and historical BFC memorabilia for sale, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store. Here are some of the highlights:

Week-long vacations in Key West, Rio de Janeiro, and Baja, Mexico are yours for the taking in our live auction. Plus, we’ve got your airfare covered, courtesy of US Airways!

During our live auction, treat yourself to the ultimate DC foodie package, with gift certificates to 12 area restaurants, one for each month of the year. This package makes life easy…and delicious!

We can’t wait for our first annual Bread for the City Golf Tournament on October 1, 2014. Bid on a foursome (a $1,000 value) and hit the driving range!

Take a walk down memory lane by purchasing a vintage BFC t-shirt! 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.Untitled-1

If all that’s not convincing enough, our guests will be treated to the musical stylings of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir–sure to be an incredible performance.

We can’t wait to celebrate together on April 3rd at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Purchase your ticket today!

Using Media to Build Community

“Bread for the City’s first ever media training was a success!”
-Community videographer and media activist, Liane Scott, Executive Director of Grassroots, DC.

The participants of Bread for the City’s first ever media training included several BFC clients: A graduate of BFC’s Pre-Employment Program (PEP), a returning citizen, one former and two current BFC Client Advisory Board members, and two residents of the Potomac Gardens public housing complex.

The first three sessions were held in Bread for the City’s SE Center and were dedicated to:

  • Gaining a better understanding of what a powerful tool the media plays in perpetuating racism and oppressive stereotypes
  • Understanding the cycle of oppression
  • Strategizing how to make media production skills available to the people who are most affected by oppression and stereotypes in the media

The last three sessions were held at the Potomac Gardens public housing complex and were dedicated to:

  • Teaching the technical skills of videotaping and editing using Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier Elements 11 software
  • Discovering creative ways to use cellphones as media tools

In today’s world of ever evolving technology, it’s exciting that those most affected by poverty are steadily gaining more control over how their stories are told. They are also being given the tools to share their stories with a wide audience. We hope to begin another session in April 2014.

Remember- we can be the change we want to see. Check out a clip from the training below!