CBC Spouses and Safeway Partner for Tremendous Impact on Our Community
Each year, during CBCF’s Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses and members of the Congressional Black Caucus serve breakfast to and provide a whole host of volunteer services to hundreds of clients of a shelter in Washington.
The initiative is part of the CBC Spouses effort to work with corporate partners who contribute in-kind, monetary and service donations to be used towards the betterment of those whom the shelter serves. Additionally, the Spouses work with community organizations who provide screening and resources for a health fair where the clients receive free services such as dental screenings, prostate testing, podiatry exams and overall health screenings. This grassroots community event gives the CBC members and their Spouses the opportunity to meet the clients and speak with them on a personal level.
Fulfilling a partnership commitment made in 2007, CBCF, the Spouses and Safeway on May 28, 2008, delivered almost 5,000 crates of food to a homeless shelter to help the poor and needy in the nation’s capital. Safeway, the food and drug retailer, pledged to provide quarterly donations of food to the shelter, So Others Might Eat (SOME), as part of its commitment to the Spouses’ Community Breakfast and Health Fair event at ALC ‘07.
The food drop comes amid vast international concern about hunger. “While traditionally the CBC Spouses have worked with corporate partners who contribute monetary and service donations to help those in need, this year we are especially grateful for Safeway’s commitment,” said Leslie Meek, the Spouses’ immediate past chairwoman and wife of the CBCF board chairman, Rep. Kendrick B. Meek of Florida. “With many competing economic challenges facing so many families, domestic hunger is a real and growing problem for many households in Washington.”
SOME used the food to feed clients who participate in their outreach programs as well as more than 900 clients who seek daily meals at the shelter. “In these times, we have people who are out of work,” said Sandy Burley, assistant to the president for mission integration at SOME. “The choices are pay for utilities, purchase gas or buy food. These are the hard facts. All contributions we received will be well used.”
Two Safeway workers needed almost 90 minutes to unload 364 crates filled with organic pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese, sugar substitute, oatmeal, cold cereal, peanut butter and other snacks from a truck and into the shelter. “Yes, the business community is hurting, but people in the community are also hurting,” said Gregory Teneyck, director of public affairs and government relations at Safeway. “Is it difficult in these times? Yes, but we are unwavering in fulfilling our commitment to the community. People are in need.”
In addition to the Safeway partnership, the CBC Spouses have developed a community breakfast wish list to combat the immediate and ongoing needs of the homeless in the D.C. area. SOME is in need of materials that will help maintain children’s centers, elderly shelters, employment centers, halfway houses and many other vital services. The wishes range from basic administrative tools to the supplies for community living.