September 29, 2008

Good Hope Awards- The Great Unveiling Part VI

Continuing with the Unveiling of the Good Hope Awards recipients (All recipients will be honored at this year's Good Hope Awards, Bread for the City's annual volunteer recognition breakfast, on October 7th at 8:30 am at the Capital Hilton), today I would like to introduce you to a very important group of people who keep our food pantries running smoothly...

St. John’s Community Services - Program Volunteers - For the past six years, the men and women of St. John’s Community Services, a day program for mentally and developmentally disabled adults, have been diligently working in our two food pantries four to five days a week. “It used to be that developmentally disabled people were segregated from the community,” says Ricardo Holde, one of the support staff at St. John’s, “we wanted to integrate them into the community in a way that benefits everyone.”

Thanks in part to the efforts of these hard-working volunteers our two centers distributed groceries to over 120,439 families last year. “They work hard,” Ted Pringle, Bread for the City’s Food & Clothing Director says. “They come to work, and they go to work—they’re so energetic and fun to be around.”

Working together for the good of the community is an important part of St. John’s mission. “Getting out into the community; challenging yourself and improving your abilities, these are things that help people move toward greater independence,” Ricardo states. “We want to make sure they are valued and respected as human beings, able to make choices and improve themselves.”

We’re glad to be able to work together. To a staff as small as Bread for the City’s, the daily support provided by this organization means a great deal. Over the years the staff has built strong relationships with St. John’s, coming to rely on their infectious good humor as much as the lines of grocery bags they help pack. “They jump right in and help,” says Food Coordinator Jenette Chance, “I just adore them. Seeing how happy they are makes my heart just bigger and warmer—they inspire me to do more.” “The work speaks for itself,” Food Coordinator Tony Weldon says, motioning to shelves of packed grocery bags ready for distribution, “without St. John’s, we would be overloaded with people spilling into the hallways waiting for food.”

Many people aren’t aware of this organization whose volunteerism allows us to keep increasing our efforts and expanding our reach. From all of us at Bread for the City, a huge thank you to St. John’s Community Services—we really appreciate all the work that you do! We are pleased to name St. John's Community Services as the Program Volunteers of the Year.

To learn more about the Good Hope Awards, or to request an invitation, please contact me at VBreitbarth [at] breadforthecity [dot]org!

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