As we begin the long, hot days of summer we are mindful of the motto that has sustained us during this past year: Stay motivated, work hard and make things happen!
Since the onset of the pandemic, our staff and volunteers have remained committed to serving our neighbors here in Bedford Stuyvesant and the surrounding communities. Our efforts have resulted in monumental numbers for us, tripling our services and distributing 4.2 million pounds of food and 3 million meals. We strengthened our partnerships with City Harvest, Food Bank for New York City, United Way and Rethink and consistently connected with new supporters like the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation in an effort to provide high quality, fresh, nutritious food to guests throughout Brooklyn, Queens and parts of the Bronx and Manhattan. Despite challenges, our Social Service team connected with guests on the street and worked with clients virtually to secure more than $2.6 million in emergency support.
We reached the hardest hit and often forgotten communities and brought services to areas such as East Elmhurst, Sunset Park and Far Rockaway. We reached the elderly by joining with organizations that delivered pantry bags to NYCHA housing complexes and we delivered pantry bags and produce to our medically compromised guests at The Rogosin Institute. We hosted mobile market popups at places like Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, where we gave frontline workers and hospital patients much needed access to fresh produce in the food desert of Flatbush.
Our kitchen and Mobile Soup Kitchen provided hot grab-and-go meals both onsite in Bed-Stuy and in vulnerable communities across Brooklyn and Queens. We recently joined with Mobilization for Justice and Urban Justice to help New Yorkers most affected financially by the pandemic to apply for and access rental assistance and those who were considered Excluded Workers and in need of support find ways to access this information.
On June 29th we celebrated three outstanding New Yorkers committed to serving their communities at our 2021 Johnny’s Angel Annual Dinner: Obaid Kadwani, actor, entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the Slice of Hope Foundation received the Johnny’s Angels Award; Joseph Sciame, Vice President of Community Relations at St. John’s University, was awarded the Dr. Pamela Shea-Byrnes Award for his contribution to bringing the students, faculty and community together in support of Bread and Life and supporting so many other charities; and our very own Orville Blackburn, who received the Sr. Bernadette Award for exemplifying the true spirit of Bread and Life. Thanks to the generous support of donors and friends, we raised over $400,000 in support of our hunger relief programs.
Together we know that our work is valuable, and our community depends on us. We will continue to be there to support one another as we move from the pandemic crisis into a recovery mode and hopefully a new way of being of service to our neighbors. We thank our board of directors and our faithful supporters for joining us in our efforts, and we pledge to continue to advocate on the local, state and federal levels for increased support for the food and social service programs that benefit our communities.
Robert Collier said, “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” With your help we will continue to make every small effort count!
In gratitude to all,
Sr. Caroline Tweedy, RSM