Our Daily Bread: Feeding our Most Vulnerable
Our Daily Bread goes more than the distance; Daily.
They are about food, nutrition, community and feeding the soul of individuals who may well need it most.
Our Daily Bread staff and volunteers pictured here before the COVID 19 pandemic.
They are one of our 2021 Transformation Honorees. Simply put, they have spent the pandemic serving thousands hot nutritious meals to people experiencing homelessness. It is this commitment that made the organization a model 2021 honoree.
Our Daily Bread’s vision is that every person in the Greater Cincinnati community has sufficient access to food, essential social services, and a safe place of belonging. Its mission is to provide stability and hope to guests by offering meals, hospitality, and services in a safe, respectful environment.
“They more than delivered during this challenging time,” Laurel Nelson, CEO for The Center for Respite care, said.
The organization is the largest soup kitchen in Cincinnati. More than a Soup Kitchen, it provides a community hub where guests relax and recharge. Sometimes referred to as “Cincinnati’s living room,” on any given day, you will see groups engaged in recreational activities.
Additionally, they provide, After Soup Kitchen hours, Our Daily Bread (in non-COVID times) and the activities of Kids Club. The Kids Club serves children age 5-12 who live in the neighborhood. It provides a caring, stable environment to play, learn, craft, do homework and eat a healthy snack. Our Family Table is a supplemental food program that benefits the families of the children in the program. Each receives a grocery bag ready for the weekend.
Guests are assisted with navigating the social service system. Thanks to a generous grant, Our Daily Bread provides emergency assistance to help prevent guests from becoming homeless.
“Our Daily Bread has been a most important partner of ours. During the pandemic they accelerated their service. We are astounded by their commitment and delivery. We are so proud to honor them,” Nelson said.
Georgine Getty has been the Executive Director for Our Daily Bread for four years and has worked with people experiencing homelessness for over 20 years. She explains the early days of The Center for Respite Care.
“I remember when The Center for Respite Care was just an idea. I watched its birth and development and evolution. I remember it being born and I am so excited. It is fulfilling a really special need.”
Georgine mulls over the recent months – providing a vital food service during a worldwide pandemic.
“It has been a real eye opener in terms of getting to back to the roots of our mission.
We have had to feed more people than ever before, in the last year.” We have served over 20K more meals.
We have gone to to-go meals – due to social distancing. We realized how terrifying COVID is if you don’t have a home. We cannot risk this vulnerable population gathering.”
Our Daily Bread had to shut their dining room which is generally open to the public. Sadly, they had to suspend our Kids club. It is reopening May 1. They were able to provide grocery bags to the Kid’s club families.
They hope to reopen for in person food service in the fall.
“We want to reopen in a limited fashion when our guests have been vaccinated,” Georgine said.
The organization is working with Cincinnati Health Network to get individuals vaccinated. Georgine explained;
“We are trying to get the health network to come to our site so that people can get vaccinated when they get food.”
Our Daily Bread feeds 300-400 during normal times.
They hit their high number of 783 last summer and the season ranged from 600-700.
They are bracing for another rough spring and summer.
When asked about fundraising she stressed, that she does not want to convey that they have plenty of funds but expresses that the community has been very generous. The need continues to be great.
“Individuals’ donors and philanthropy have been amazing. People stepped up and with food donations too.
We got 100K more pounds of food donated.”
Georgine sees the Transformation Awards honor as a bright spot during a hard time. She explains;
“We are so honored and surprised. We are happy to share what we have with neighbors who do good work. It was a nice little boost with this really hard work.
We have the ability to rescue food. We reached a point where we had more food than we can use.
The Center comes and shops our pantry. We are happy to give them food and give people healthy meals.”
The silver lining of COVID is that it did really bring out –reminded us that none of us are in this alone and how important our partnerships and friendships are and how we can do impossible things. We are proud to call respite center a friend.”