March 17, 2011

No more saying 'no' at Bread for the City

Today's post is by our Northwest Food Pantry Coordinator, Jenette Chance. Thanks, Miss Jenette!

As one of Bread for the City's food pantry coordinators, I greet our clients when they first enter our pantry. When people need food, I'm the one they see.

I love my job. It's not even work for me; it's life. It's not always easy, though. People come to me in very difficult situations, and I am able to help them because of the gifts you make to Bread for the City. For that, I am so grateful -- and I hope that you will continue to give.

When you come to a place like Bread for the City to get help, you're already hurting. You're already feeling bad about the world. To be mistreated in such a situation, I tell you, you can lose the love of life. That is why we all work so hard to treat everyone well, with dignity and respect.

One of the hardest things about my job was when people would come to us from Northeast DC. Northeast was not within our service area, so we could not provide food to Northeast residents who came to us asking for help. I would make sure that they would walk away with a list of food pantries in their community that they could get help from. But it was still miserable. And sometimes, it's true -- I would make exceptions to help people who needed it.

One day, Ted Pringle, the amazing man who used to run our food program, took me aside to sit down with our deputy director, Jeannine. "Jenette, we love your heart," she said. "But you have to learn how to say 'no.' We just can't feed people from Northeast, we don't have enough."

"But we are working on it," Jeannine said. Ted nodded, and he said it to me again afterwards: "We are working on it."

And, even though he passed from us tragically last summer, Ted Pringle is still good for his word: On April 1st, we will finally open up our pantry to Northeast residents. (George announced the news here.) We expect hundreds of new people to turn to us in just the first few months alone.

All of this is possible because of you. So I want to thank you. I love your heart. And I know that you'll stand with us as we open our doors for more people.

It'll be a challenge for us, but it's the right thing to do. It costs Bread for the City just about $10 to provide one client with a three-day supply of food from our pantry. Please give today.

--Jenette Chance, Northwest Food Pantry Coordinator

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