Daily Bread Food Kitchen
Hard work has not been rewarding for a long time now in the USA and because of the growing unemployment more and more people are losing their job. From a recently released report of OxfamNovib, it appears that the income differences in the USA (of the 26 countries surveyed) are by far the largest and growing. In the last year I have made portraits of the visitors of the community kitchen at an American food kitchen (community kitchen).
The organisation is located in the east of Florida and started in 1987. Daily Bread depends entirely on volunteers, with the exception of a few people. They do not receive public funds but instead are completely dependent on donations. In addition to volunteers, there are also people there who have been in trouble with the law, in particular inebriated drivers who were caught behind the wheel under the influence. They are allowed to convert a portion of their sentence in work at Daily Bread.
In addition to the actual food kitchen, medical assistance is offered in the form of a mobile doctors post. They help with searching for work and shelter and offer help with addiction problems. Even a bicycle repair man drops by once a week to repair bicycles.
For American standards, an organisation like this is quite unique. I have spoken to a number of homeless people who travelled through the USA in the last years and Daily Bread can be called exceptional in almost all respects. Although there are many food kitchens and organisations in the USA that offer help to the less fortunate, it is the work method of Daily Bread which can be called progressive. It is not just that all assistance takes place from one location, the same also applies for registration. Once the formalities are done, a person can immediately make use of a great diversity of aid, without having to turn to various splinter organisations spread out over the city.
The majority of the donations come in the form of financial donations, foods and goods of local individuals and companies. Public money is refused and they are very firm about this. They wish to show that this organisation can survive without direct, financial assistance from the government. Currently about 300 to 400 people are helped every day, among other things by organising 200 complete meals twice a day. That is a total of 1.6 million meals since the start of Daily Bread in 1987.
The homeless and destitute I have spoken to were all praiseful, not just for the organisation (Daily Bread), but also their volunteers and employees. Some even called Daily Bread a ‘Godsend’.