Friends, neighbors and supporters of Bread for the City gathered on January 7 to dedicate a sparkling, newly-expanded center that more than doubles the size of the nonprofit’s Northwest facility in the Shaw neighborhood.
The center will greatly improve Bread for the City’s capacity to provide food, medical care, legal assistance, and comprehensive social services to tens of thousands of low-income D.C. residents, according to the nonprofit’s Executive Director George A. Jones, who spoke at the festive dedication ceremony. But completing the project was a challenge in such hard times.
“We have been planning this expansion for many years, as the need in our community had outstripped our capacity to serve in such cramped quarters,” said Jones. “Today we are deeply grateful for our dedicated community of supporters who—in the face of the worst recession in generations—rallied together to ensure that this dream could become reality.”
The primary feature of the expanded facility is a new medical clinic with twice as many exam rooms, an enhanced laboratory, family-friendly wait space, and greater accessibility for patients with disabilities. This new clinic will eventually serve twice as many underinsured and uninsured patients, through three times the amount of visits.
Of the $8.35 million raised by Bread for the City’s Capital Campaign to build, equip, and operate the new facility, almost 15 percent came through private donations. Contributions of more than $500 are being recognized by inclusion on an Honor Wall to be erected in the Northwest Center’s new lobby. The bulk of financing was provided by the DC Primary Care Association’s Medical Homes DC Capital Projects initiative, which is funded by the Government of the District of Columbia.
“Though the Capital Campaign has met its initial fundraising goal,” said Jones, “we now intend to raise more funding so that we may accelerate the development of critical new services.”
The original expansion plan called for the addition of dental and optometry services, two more healthcare needs of low-income DC residents. Jones said that, with continued support from the community, dental and vision care can be implemented at Bread for the City’s medical clinic within the year—three years ahead of schedule.
Besides the new medical clinic, the expansion also benefits Bread for the City’s other services. The legal clinic will get its own office and the food pantry will get more space.
“The excitement even extends to our roof,” said Jones, “which will feature a wonderful vegetable garden — the metro DC area’s first large-scale rooftop agriculture site.” Several hundred people attended the ribbon cutting at 1525 7th Street NW They were treated to a very nice buffet on a not-too-chilly Friday afternoon. With so many DC residents enduring economic hardship, “the opening of this particular location signals, for many, brighter days ahead,” one former client observed.