Our Annual Report: A Year of Growth!

With over 7,400 volunteer hours and $2,996,613 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

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!

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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: http://www.breadforthecity.org/holidayhelpings/

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! http://www.breadforthecity.org/get-involved/wishlist/Sewing 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!

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.

DLA-Piper-Logo (2)


Holiday Helpings Is HERE!

The turkeys are here!

Holiday Helpings has officially kicked off and we’re going BIG this year. Our goal is to make the holidays happen for 9,000 families this season. That’s 9,000 turkeys and all the trimmings for our neighbors in need – wow!

9,000 turkeys is almost 1,000 more turkeys than last year, so we need you to help us meet the demand. Will you donate $29 to feed one family?

Your gift will help people just like Margie Jennings.margie

“The price of food is so high,” Margie says. “We can’t buy enough for the month.”

Bread for the City is hearing this refrain from clients more and more, which is why visits to our pantries are up 9% this year. It’s also why we set a higher goal for Holiday Helpings: 9,000 families. We need your help!

And so does Margie.

Margie had been working as an in-home care aide until the arthritis in her joints became so painful that she had to stop. She gets by each month with the help of Bread for the City, but in a few weeks she would like to invite her daughter over for a Thanksgiving dinner. Can you help?

To make Holiday Helpings successful, we need thousands of donors to give whatever they can, and then ask their friends to do the same. (Like I did!)

Can we count on you? Will you sponsor a family (or two!) this Thanksgiving? Your kindness will give a family – like Margie’s – the gift of a holiday meal.

Make a secure online donation

We are all in this together

Why are we wearing purple?
We are doing so in solidarity with domestic violence survivors — survivors like Sofia.

Today is Purple Thursday! Follow us all day on Twitter and Facebook to see pictures of staff and volunteers showcasing their purple pride!

Today is Purple Thursday! Follow us all day on Twitter and Facebook to see pictures of staff and volunteers showcasing their purple pride!

Sofia came to Bread for the City after fleeing from her abusive boyfriend when she was five months pregnant with their third child. A Bread for the City attorney successfully negotiated Sofia’s permanent custody of all three children, and after fighting long and hard in the courtroom, helped her to obtain a child support order critical to establishing financial security for her family.

This outcome was life-changing for Sofia and her family, and was only possible because of the financial investment we received from our community. You too can invest in Bread for the City and our free legal services for domestic violence survivors by making a gift of $25. The demand is so great and we need your help.

Please give today, and then wear some purple. We are all in this together.


Make a secure online donation


Standing with Isabella

“I needed to escape from him,” said Isabella. “No matter what.”

Bread for the City helps hundreds of clients like Isabella find safety and stability. As part of our holistic services — food, clothing, medical care — we also have attorneys on staff who help domestic violence survivors get Civil Protection Orders, divorces, child custody, child support, and public benefits. This work takes a really long time, but is critical to helping families get out and get safe while continuing to meet their most basic human needs.

A Bread for the City attorney took on Isabella’s case almost a year ago to help her figure out how she and her child could safely leave their unstable home. On her own time, the Bread attorney even found furniture for Isabella’s new home, drove the delivery truck, and unloaded the furniture.

“In addition to her professional responsibilities, she does things that no other lawyer in the area will do – such as driving a U-Haul truck herself to deliver secondhand furniture to my new home.”

As important as that assistance was, leaving a domestic violence situation isn’t just a matter of a new address. There are the complexities of employment, child care, income supports, health care — the list goes on and on. This is why an attorney is so crucial, and can make the difference between a survivor remaining independent or returning to her abuser.

Isabella explains, “With all the legal complications involved in my case, my attorney patiently explains the legal options, appropriately offers advice and respects my decisions. This assures me that I am doing the right thing. At court, when I have to face my husband – who continues to try to blame and intimidate me – my insecurity rises, but with my attorney by my side, I regain strength to stand against unfairness.”

A year later, Isabella and her son remain safe, but Bread’s work is not yet done. Isabella still needs to finalize her divorce, and work out a custody and child support agreement. All this would be nearly impossible if Isabella did not have an attorney on her side.

Isabella only has an attorney because donors like you chose to support Bread for the City. Please help this good work continue by making a contribution today and then asking others to do the same. Your gifts cannot come soon enough.


Make a secure online donation


Wear purple on Thursday and show your support of domestic violence survivors

Wear purple on Thursday and show your support of domestic violence survivors