November 25, 2008

All kinds of support for our Holiday Helpings campaign

These past few weeks have been our food pantries' busiest weeks ever, and our Holiday Helpings turkey giveaway is already shooting well over budget. It's unsettling to see the sheer size of the lines at our pantries -- there are so many hungry people this season -- but we're proud of our food program, our volunteers, and the donors who are making it possible for us to meet the demand.

In particular, we want to recognize a few special groups who've joined in. This year, we've received support from everyone from the Mayor, universities, institutions of modern art, elves, and even our trusted public agencies.

Yesterday I went with Bread for the City's Executive Director, George Jones to the Department of Human Services, where Deputy Director Keith Cross presented us with a roomful of boxed food - the result of weeks of a generous food drive.

And last week, we sponsored a special Thanksgiving meal giveaway for all of Ward One, hosted by Councilmember Jim Graham and the DC Housing Authority. About 400 turkey dinners were passed out in the LeDroit Park and Garfield Terrace Facilities. Mayor Fenty also joined us to greet the crowd.

Michael Kelly (pictured second from the right), executive director of the DC Housing Authority, told us that he was thrilled to be partnering with us on this event.

I had a chance to ask Mr. Kelly a couple of questions about his own agency's struggle to meet the great need in our community, and what kind of difference he thinks events like these can possibly make. His answer was really thoughtful:

Many of our clients really struggle just to get by, and I know how stressful it can be for the children—for the family as a whole. And there’s really nothing like a big turkey dinner to really help bring a family together. Just that one meal can mean so much.
That's very true. And we thank Mr Kelly, Councilmember Graham, the DHS, and the thousands of donors who make this program possible. Have you joined us yet?

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