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The Washington Post

For these in want, Bread for the Metropolis supplies turkeys and extra


“We weren’t certain we had been going to have a Thanksgiving,” Zenaida Massey informed me final Thursday. “If it wasn’t for this place, I don’t know what we’d do.”

We had been at Bread for the Metropolis, a nonprofit that helps alleviate starvation and homelessness within the District. This month, the charity has been distributing on the spot Thanksgiving from its two areas, on Good Hope Street in Southeast and right here on Seventh Road NW. Individuals have been lining up daily to obtain a grocery bag filled with meals, a $50 debit card and a turkey.

“Or a hen, if that’s a greater choice for them,” stated Trazy Collins, director of the meals and clothes applications at Bread for the Metropolis.

Massey, who lives in Northeast, had stood in line for 2 hours. She was planning on getting a turkey for herself and her three kids.

“I grew up in North Carolina,” she stated. “We do not play in the case of consuming.”

Completely different holidays imply various things to completely different folks. Some aren’t celebrated by everybody. But when there’s one American vacation that’s for everyone, it’s Thanksgiving.

“It facilities on meals,” Collins stated. “For individuals who are meals insecure, they fear about present a Thanksgiving meal. That’s on the high of individuals’s minds beginning in September and October: ensuring they’ll try this for the household.”

Bread for the Metropolis helps. The group does so much — runs medical and dental clinics, supplies authorized providers, operates a diaper financial institution — however offering meals is central to its mission. All yr lengthy it distributes baggage of groceries, some 305,000 final yr. November is for turkeys.

Or it often is, anyway. The pandemic and provide chain points meant no turkeys in 2020. As a substitute, Bread for the Metropolis distributed $50 debit playing cards. In 2021, it distributed $75 debit playing cards. This yr, shoppers had been capable of obtain groceries, a turkey or hen, and a $50 debit card.

“That is like the final word selection,” Collins stated. “You could have 50 {dollars} you possibly can spend nevertheless you need for your loved ones’s wants at Thanksgiving.”

Some folks use the playing cards at grocery shops, others to order one thing from Amazon.

“Those that all the time get me are the youngsters’s outfitters,” Collins stated. “That actually speaks to my coronary heart.”

On Thursday afternoon, a line stretched from the door of Bread for the Metropolis and down Seventh Road NW to P Road. Inside, volunteers from the regulation agency Perkins Coie, together with companies Prosek and Energetics, had been filling baggage and handing out turkeys. Howard College college students have been volunteering this month, too.

“Howard’s been holding it down,” stated Izzy Moody, affiliate volunteer coordinator for Northwest.

On the head of the road, Bread for the Metropolis workers requested for fundamental info: identification and proof of District residency. Additionally they entered demographic particulars to assist get an image of who they’re serving.

“We attempt to preserve it so simple as potential and be as low barrier as potential,” Collins stated. “The largest takeaway is we’re seeing folks from all eight wards, from each nook of the town, folks from all completely different backgrounds, individuals who have by no means used our providers earlier than, individuals who by no means anticipated to want our providers however are ready this yr the place $50 is life-changing.”

The groceries range from day-to-day. Sometimes they embrace a mix of canned and recent fruit and veggies. Immediately it’s tangerines and acorn squash. There’s stuffing, too, and macaroni and cheese.

Bread for the Metropolis entered the season estimating it wanted 12,000 turkeys, which it will get from a wholesaler. It shortly realized the necessity was greater. By Thursday, it had distributed 14,000. (By the point Vacation Helpings got here to its shut on Friday, 16,000 birds had been handed out.)

Collins stated turkeys have been costly and laborious to return by this yr.

“We’re paying 15 to twenty % greater than I’ve ever paid for turkeys wholesale,” she stated. “In the event that they’re costly for us to get, simply think about how way more costly they’re for folks to entry outdoors the wholesale realm.”

The goal is to offer with out query, to offer with out judgment.

“There’s sufficient judgment on this world,” stated Collins.

Too many individuals who don’t have to face in line for meals query the motives of those that do.

“We’re not right here to try this,” she stated. “We’re right here to assist. We will’t assist with the whole lot however we’re right here to lighten the load somewhat bit this vacation season.”

Bread for the Metropolis is a companion in The Washington Publish Serving to Hand, our annual fundraising marketing campaign. I hope you’ll contemplate making a donation to this worthy group. Simply go to

To present by mail, make a test payable to “Bread for the Metropolis” and ship it to Bread for the Metropolis, Attn: Improvement, 1525 Seventh St. NW, Washington, DC 20001. Thanks.

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