What a month September turned out to be! In New York City, parents have had to scramble to find ways for their children to learn safely, guests are rushing to complete the census and register to vote, the country is mourning the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and, during Hunger Awareness Month, our greatest challenge continues to be feeding the hungry in our midst.
Since July we’ve managed to distribute food to more than 50,000 individuals and families. When we look back to March, we realized that we have distributed more than 1.5 million pounds of food, more than 900,000 meals, to our neighbors. These numbers, lasting only six months, matched what we did in all of the previous year. This means we are on target to double or triple the number of meals and pounds of food we will distribute this year. This is an astounding number for an organization the size of Bread and Life, but also one that indicates that hunger in our community is not going away — it’s only GROWING. As the numbers grow, we must continue to advocate for additional funding to meet the increased needs.
In early September Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congress Member Hakeem Jefferies (D-Chair, Democratic Caucus), and Assembly Members Tremaine Wright (56th Assembly District) and Latrice Walker (55th Assembly District) joined together at Bread and Life promising to advocate for increases to SNAP, a moratorium on evictions, and to save the school lunch programs. Extending the Cares Act is so very important in keeping guests healthy, housed, and fed.
Ultimately like many of you, my hope is that we will not have a second wave of Covid-19, but the recent spike in cases tells us to be prepared, and we will be! My hope is that when a proven vaccine is found we can create a “new normal” at Bread and Life where guests can once again feel safe and secure entering the building, and where one-to-one engagement is meaningful and a sense of community is again the norm. Until then, we will work together to make the present circumstances a bit easier for everyone.
W. Clement Stone said, “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” And that, my friends, is exactly what we do here at Bread and Life.
Sr. Caroline Tweedy, RSM