Imagine, if you can, your life without the simplest of your needs being fulfilled. You have gone days without a shower, a shave, or a hot meal. Eating only what has been given or begged for and wearing the only clothes you have for another day. With over 2,300 homeless counted in Brevard in last year’s census, the need for help is great.
Imagine the difficulties of getting your life back together, or keeping it together when even the most basic of your needs are not being met. Imagine trying to get or keep a job; manage a home, or a family, under these conditions. It would be easy to lose hope.
A Simple Mission
Hope for the needy in Brevard County comes in many forms and the Daily Bread in Melbourne offers it up 7 days a week.The Daily Bread is “dedicated to improving the dignity and quality of life of the hungry in our community by providing a hot meal seven days a week, and hygienic services, without charge, to anyone who comes in need without regard to race, color, creed, sex or age.” Every day between 200 and 250 people are served a simple breakfast in the morning and at 11:00 am a hot lunch prepared by a staff of volunteers. Shower facilities are open to anyone in need as well as free laundry services and personal hygiene supplies. Sue Holaday, the Administrative Coordinator for the Daily Bread who handles the daily operations at the facility, recognizes the importance of the services they offer. “We’re providing services to the most needy, and those often ignored and overlooked by others and they are the most in need,” she said.
Their mission needs to be expanded to include the growing list of additional services they provide. Once a week Project Response comes on site to provide free AIDS testing and counseling, the Brevard County Library system provides a literacy tutor, and the Hope Medical Clinic To Go provides free healthcare. In addition, a representative from the Veterans Affairs Homeless Outreach Program is available on site at any time. Just recently, Daily Bread added a Job Link on site to help clients find work. Starting April 1st they will be expanding their hours Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. help accommodate the working homeless who cannot make the free lunch. Of course their services could always be expanded and support from the community is crucial to their success. “We always are in need of donations of food for the shelter or items for the thrift store, and donations of money are always appreciated, but we really are in need of volunteers for the kitchen,” said Ms. Holaday.
One woman in Brevard has taken to helping Daily Bread through a unique fundraiser. Donna Lee Crawford of Brevard County Parks and Recreation was inspired by an Empty Bowls program sponsored by Axner Pottery Supply in Oviedo to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank. The Empty Bowls program is an international effort started in 1990 to increase the public’s awareness of hunger, and to promote the use of art as a tool to improve awareness of this issue and to find solutions. “I had friends volunteering at the Daily Bread and saw what amazing work they did and felt like the number of homeless in Brevard was increasing and I thought this would be a fantastic way to help those in need,” said Ms. Crawford. Ms. Crawford’s background as an artisan and her resources within the county provided the perfect opportunity to bring the public to the aid of the Daily Bread.
Now entering its fifth year in Brevard, the Empty Bowls program has two main components. The first is the creation of simple clay soup bowls, representing the plight of the hungry. The bowls are made by children in county sponsored camps and by adults and children in the county parks. At the public event held at Erna Nixon Park this year on January 10th over 65 bowls were produced and another 40 were made at earlier events. Bowls are made and decorated with feet and handles at the events and then kiln-fired. After firing the bowls are taken to other events and parks to be glazed.
How do these bowls help Daily Bread you might ask?
The Benefit for Hunger fundraiser will be held at Howard E. Futch Memorial Park, formerly called Paradise Park, in Indialantic from 6-8 p.m. on February 10th. At the fundraiser a handmade bowl of your choice can be selected for a donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children. Sponsors from around the county have come together to help support the cause. The Health Station in Indialantic and the Daily Bread’s Soup Chef will create the evening’s soup with Caesar salads donated by the Chart House. Bread will be donated by Sue Ann’s, the Croissant Chateau, and Aspra Italian Bakeries. Music will be provided by the “Indian River Blue Grass Boys” and the story of “Stone Soup” will be told by Tricia Travis, a storytelling chef for all ages. Last year this event generated over $3000 dollars for the Daily Bread. There is no more delicious way to help the needy in Brevard County than by supporting the Empty Bowls Benefit for Hunger.
To help, or get more info, visit the Daily Bread website: http://www.geocities.com/jimwells41/dailybreadinc.html
Phone (321) 723-1060 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also contact Donna Lee Crawford, Program Coordinator at (321) 255-4400 or email email@example.com
Visit the Empty Bowls site at www.emptybowls.net