Last week the NY Yankees accomplished something that is so hard to do — they saw one of their star pitchers toss a no-hitter and then, just a few days later, pull out a win with a triple play and a walk off home run. How amazing is that? At their lowest point this year, sports writers were already writing them off for the season, but in true Yankee form, they stormed back, tweaked their line up, and now are stronger than ever. That’s pretty much how I feel this month about Bread and Life. We continually tweak our “lineup” and are stronger because of it!
In May we were all feeling a bit “burned out” and stressed from a year like no other. We’ve operated in crisis mode for more than a year, expanding our services to more than 6,000 families weekly, serving new communities, and, of course, providing access to more food than ever before. So, what challenged us? What energized us? What helped turn our burnout into excitement?
To start, we created a new partnership with Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, providing monthly popup markets on their campus for patients and staff. In just one hour we distributed more than 3,000 pounds of fresh produce to frontline workers and patients. The best motivating factor was the excitement that the frontline workers exuded when we arrived, and their gratefulness to us for recognizing their work during the pandemic. Who would have thought a year ago that we could distribute 4 million pounds of food or provide 3.2 million meals? What an accomplishment!
Our second home run happened only days ago. We received an initial grant from Amazon which will help us launch phase one of our new initiative to go green by replacing the styrofoam takeaway containers we use for our meal program with more earth friendly, compostable and recyclable containers. The second phase will allow us to replace plastic bags with reusable, environmentally friendly bags. This will allow us to reduce our carbon imprint by more than 1 million less bags and containers in landfills!
We know the pandemic is far from over. We recognize that the next couple of months will stretch us yet again. Our case management team has a plan in place to address the end of the rent moratorium, additional unemployment benefits, and the need for SNAP recertifications on September 1.
As always, our services will evolve and change to address the present needs of our guests. Our food programs will remain strong, and our case management team is working hard to help alleviate yet another problem our guests will face because of Covid. To do this, we will need your prayers and support.
In closing, I am reminded of what a wise old friend once said.
“Never be afraid to change. Change challenges us to think differently, to be bold in our approach and see the fruits of our labors in the accomplishments of others.”
In gratitude to all,
Sr. Caroline Tweedy, RSM