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Newsletter 2016 FALL

Bread for the City


More Food for More Families “It’s not enough. I’m not sure it’s ever been, but I know it’s not enough now,” explained Michael Blue.


hat Michael said is true: for our clients, the amount of groceries provided by Bread for the City was not quite enough to ensure food security. Since our founding, Bread for the City has distributed a three-day supply of groceries to District residents in need. But during the last decade, many changes have led us to where we are now—providing five days’ worth of food to our clients instead of three: • $15M was cut from the District’s SNAP program in 2014. • The cost of food continues to go up. • Housing prices have risen exponentially. • Wages have not increased at the same rate as housing, food, and childcare costs. For Michael and his wife, both of whom are employed, dependence on Bread for the City’s food pantry has waned— what was once a monthly visit is now an annual or semiannual visit. But sometimes the Blue family still needs the extra help Bread for the City provides. “I work, but my job is seasonal. And at those times when it’s really seasonal, and my wife has to miss work for a medical reason, there’s no money coming in. Our reality is rent first, everything else after. But

For Michael and his wife, a 5-day supply of food from BFC means not having to decide between buying groceries and paying rent. our rent keeps going up, so there are times when the food simply runs out and we need to come to Bread for the City.” The extra two days of food that Bread for the City now offers does more than just alleviate hunger. More food on the table means extra money for other necessities—utility bills get paid, children get new shoes, transportation is more affordable, and the local economy benefits from the increased spending. Leonard, President of our Client Advisory Council, also got a chance to weigh in on the expansion. His SNAP benefits MORE FOOD Continued on page 4

Holiday Helpings With your support, Mr. Smith was able to have his family over for a wonderful holiday meal!


oin us for Holiday Helpings! Like you, we at Bread for the City firmly believe that our neighbors who are living below the federal poverty line shouldn’t have to forgo holiday celebrations. That’s why we come together through our Holiday Helpings program to

provide free holiday meals—a turkey and all the trimmings—for our clients to enjoy at home with family and friends. And thanks to your support, we provided more than 10,000 holiday meals last year! We can’t wait to do it again this holiday season. Please join us by sponsoring a family or two, or hosting your own fundraising drive. Get the lowdown at holidayhelpings


Aja Taylor, Director of BFC’s Advocacy Program


ver wonder what this whole “advocacy” thing is about, or why nonprofits including Bread for the City seem to be talking about it so much? Never fear, we have a subject matter expert right here on staff in the form of our Director of Advocacy, Aja Taylor. Read on to learn how we use advocacy and organizing to improve our clients’ lives and address the root causes of poverty. Take it away, Aja!

What is advocacy and what does it mean at Bread for the City? Advocacy is fighting for a position you care about, on behalf of yourself or on behalf of someone else. At Bread for the City, advocacy is about improving the lives of the people that we serve. It means going out and fighting on behalf of our clients and also, including them in those fights. While we have engaged in advocacy for many years, BFC officially launched its Advocacy Program in August, 2015. The Program is focused on community organizing which involves creating campaigns and bringing our clients together as experts to fight for change that is important to them. We also do more traditional advocacy outside of organizing. Staff in our legal clinic and our social services department advocate to improve entities like the DC court system in order to make it easier

to access disability benefits and government IDs, both of which can be difficult for our clients to obtain.

What are the goals of the advocacy program, and how does it work? We have a big goal of building the political will to create and preserve 22,000 units of low-income housing in the District. Half of DC’s affordable housing has disappeared since 2010— it’s a real crisis and it impacts nearly all of Bread for the City’s clients. Other goals of equal weight are mobilizing BFC clients and training them to organize within their respective communities. An excellent example of success in this area is Victory Square, a building of low-income seniors where I worked with one of our attorneys. The building wasn’t near any public

The best way to support our work is through a monetary contribution to Bread for the City. Become a monthly donor today and help us sustain our programs year-round at Just want to make a one-time gift? Give today at



Sign up to become day to a month ly and hav e your d donor onation


for the fi rst year!

(Left) BFC client leader Zonia Godinez symbolically breaking down barriers, as part of an action outside the John A. Wilson Building. (Right) Aja Taylor testifying at DC City Council on the issue of public housing. transportation and the seniors who lived there were having trouble getting around, so they wanted to ask WMATA for a bus line. We trained residents on organizing techniques, and they testified to WMATA and City Council about the need for the bus stop, and they won! When Metro wanted to remove the stop again a few months later, the residents didn’t even need us. They organized 42 people in under a week to come out to the meeting and demand that Metro keep the bus stop. They won, AGAIN. Our clients demonstrated that they were ready, willing and empowered to fight.

Leaving a gift to Bread for the City in your estate plans ensures that your legacy of helping your community will continue beyond your lifetime. Learn more about how you can have a lasting impact by visiting or by contacting Emmy Torruellas at or 202-480-8908.

Meet BFC’s New Chief Development Officer


eet our new Chief Development Officer, Andrea Messina! Eight years ago, she worked at Bread for the City before going on to business school, to different nonprofits, and even <gasp> to the private sector. But as many of our current and former staff who stay engaged at Bread can attest, we’re hard to shake, so this summer Andrea returned to lead our fundraising efforts. “I am delighted to return to the BFC family after eight years of other adventures! It feels as if nothing has changed and everything has changed,” says Andrea. As Chief Development Officer, Andrea is in charge of making sure we can afford to meet our strategic goals, help everyone who comes through our doors, and just keep the lights on every day. Plus, Andrea will lead the effort to expand our Southeast Center through the largest capital campaign in Bread’s history. We’re lucky to have her back and it seems the feeling is mutual. Andrea says, “I am awed by the ways that

Andrea Messina, Chief Development Officer Bread has evolved and expanded over the last decade. But, I’m even more inspired by the ways that Bread has maintained its close-knit community, unmatched passion and tireless commitment to service while more than doubling in size.” If you have any questions or well wishes for Andrea, or want to grab a cup of coffee with her, you can reach her at

Save the Date Bread for the City’s 2017 Good Hope Gala Dinner and Live Auction

Saturday May 20, 2017 Omni Shoreham Hotel Tickets go on sale this Spring.

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE! Contact Emmy Torruellas at (202) 480-8908 or

IRA Rollover was made permanent Did you know that individuals 70½ or older can donate up to $100,000 to Bread for the City directly from their IRA and it will not be treated as taxable income? This permanent change will make sure you can do the most good with your giving while saving money. For more information, speak with a tax professional or Contact Emmy Torruellas at

Major Donor Voices

Russell J. Bruemmer When BFC opened its dental clinic in 2012, I noticed that they gave clients a dental “goodie bag” of supplies to maintain their oral health at home. When I saw how quickly Dr. Smyles was running through them, I decided that I could do something about it. I hopped on Amazon Smile (designating BFC as my charity beneficiary), placed an order for 1000 toothbrushes, and popped by the clinic to drop them off. I got a lot of hugs that day! It brings me joy to be a part of the village that keeps BFC going. Along with my colleagues at WilmerHale, I hold an annual fundraising drive to raise money for Holiday Helpings, BFC’s campaign to provide a holiday meal kit (complete with a turkey and all the trimmings) so their clients can cook a holiday dinner at home. Over the years, our fundraiser has grown, and now, our firm raises tens of thousands of dollars to boost Bread for the City’s efforts. I’m proud to say that this year, we helped BFC distribute over 10,000 Holiday Helpings bags to community members experiencing poverty. It’s wonderful to see staff, attorneys, and partners come together for such a great cause. The most surprising and most rewarding thing for me has been learning how broad the services provided are; how BFC never rests on what it has done in the past, but is constantly looking for new services or new client groups to serve; and how easy it is to find a way to help that fits anyone’s skill set and financial ability. I’m impressed every day by the sense of community at Bread for the City and am always amazed at how many staff and clients donate as well as volunteer to make our city a better place to live. I’m lucky to be a part of Bread’s team, and I don’t intend to retire from that anytime soon!


When clients turn to us for help, Bread for the City has a vital responsibility to make sure that we are meeting their needs in the best possible way. MORE FOOD Continued from page 1

Everything that Clinical Care Options harvests at City Orchard will be distributed in BFC’s food pantries.

Thank You Corporate Partners! We are so grateful for all of our amazing neighbors throughout DC, especially our 2016 Corporate Partners. Whether they are hosting Holiday Helpings drives, volunteering with our Sustainable Agriculture team, or writing us a big fat check, these folks always have our backs. From law firms to developers, to restaurants and hotels, our partners share our values and vision for our city’s future. Thank you, 2016 Corporate Partners! Learn more about our Corporate Partnerships Program at

Make an in-kind gift by donating food, clothing, or an item from our Amazon Wish List. See our Wish List at get-involved/wishlist/.

It’s Workplace Giving Season! CFC #61733

✔ C  hildren’s books, especially in Spanish ✔ C  leaning supplies/ laundry detergent ✔ G  ift cards for grocery stores and pharmacies

✔ P  lus-sized clothing for men and women

Your support makes it possible for us to expand our programs to serve clients like Michael and Leonard. To join us in the fight against hunger in DC, please donate at

Stay Connected to Bread for the City! We love tweeting with our supporters! @BreadfortheCity

Here are some of our most needed items: ✔ D  iapers

have been cut back from $189 to $16 per month, which leaves him in a very precarious situation. After he pays his rent, utilities, and other expenses, Leonard has only about $50 per month left for food. He explains, “When Bread expanded to five days, it was greatly appreciated!” Eating on a shoestring budget and only to survive strips the pleasure from food and home. Bread for the City wants to do all that we can to return dignity to the lives of DC’s poorest families.

We’re always sharing stories and photos on our Facebook page. “Like” us on Facebook!

United Way #8219

We’re also blogging every week about issues affecting our community. Subscribe to our blog at

✔ SmarTrip cards ✔ T  oilet paper and other household items

or by emailing

✔ Thumb drives

DC One Fund #8219

We love photos as much as the next guy! Follow us on Instragram.


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