Baltimore’s Our Daily Bread Employment Center Wins National Family Strengthening Award from Catholic Charities USA
Program of Catholic Charities of Baltimore to Receive $25,000 Award
04 Aug 08 12:00 AM CDT
Alexandria, VA—Our Daily Bread Employment Center (ODBEC)—a comprehensive resource center of Catholic Charities of Baltimore that helps people escape poverty through employment and stable housing—has won Catholic Charities USA’s 2008 Family Strengthening Award and will receive $25,000.
“Our Daily Bread Employment Center is one of our most innovative Catholic Charities programs working to strengthen families and reduce poverty in America,” said Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “Through an array of supportive employment programs, job training, affordable housing, and daily hot meals, ODBEC is giving families the tools they need to build a better life, and ultimately, a stronger community in Baltimore.”
The annual awards program, which has been made possible by the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, aims to recognize and award exceptional programs that take a holistic approach to providing services that support healthy family relationships, work to improve a family’s overall financial situation, and enhance the community where the families live.
By helping families overcome their barriers to self-sufficiency and become economically stable, Our Daily Bread Employment Center is crucial to Catholic Charities USA’s Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America. “We need more programs like ODBEC if we are going to cut poverty in half by 2020,” said Father Snyder.
Almost 80 percent of ODBEC’s clients live below the federal poverty level. By offering a variety of supportive services, ODBEC helps its clients overcome their barriers to employment—such as lack of education or work experience, addictions, transportation issues, poor interviewing skills—and enables them to better support themselves and their families.
ODBEC houses a daily hot meal program for over 600 people, a residential program for formerly homeless men aimed at employment and permanent housing; and a program that enables formerly incarcerated men to successfully reintegrate into the community. The Center also provides case management and an array of services by Catholic Charities as well as partner providers, including eviction prevention services, emergency and referral services, job development and placement, adult basic education, recovery support, assistance with criminal background issues, access to computers and telephones, mail distribution, ongoing GED classes, and workshops on home ownership, financial literacy, and healthy relationships.
“We are writing the ultimate turnaround story here,” said Harold A. Smith, executive director of Catholic Charities in Baltimore. “We are providing opportunities for people to turn from lives mired in chronic poverty to lives of self reliance.”
Our Daily Bread Employment Center is one of four programs selected by Catholic Charities USA to receive the 2008 Family Strengthening Award. The programs were chosen from numerous programs nominated by local Catholic Charities agencies across the country. All four will be honored at Catholic Charities USA’s Annual Gathering in New Orleans on September 27. In addition to receiving $25,000, as an award winner, Our Daily Bread Employment Center will host a site visit for Catholic Charities staff from across the country so they may learn more about this successful program and how to replicate it.
The other award winners are the Homebase Program of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens; the Kinship Care Resource Network of Catholic Charities of Rochester, NY; and St. Margaret’s Shelter of Catholic Charities of Spokane, WA.
To learn more about the 2008 award winners and the finalists, visit www.CatholicCharitiesUsa.org/caseyaward.
Catholic Charities USA’s members—more than 1,700 local agencies and institutions nationwide—provide help and create hope for more than 7.8 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. For more than 280 years, local Catholic Charities agencies have been providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from day care and counseling to food and housing. For more information, visit www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.
More information about Our Daily Bread Employment Center