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The Latest News From Executive Director Joleen Lafayette

This time last year we were all in lock down with no summer vacations, no dining out, no fourth of July celebrations and we had no idea how long the lock down would last. Here at Loaves and

Fishes this was never the case, we all came to work and continued our mission every day. There was no working from home, we knew we had a mission to fulfill, and our mission was in more demand than ever. It was the most challenging year in my 20- year career at Loaves and Fishes. I had to figure out how to serve our guests safely while keeping my staff safe, provide our services with fewer volunteers, put our culinary program on hold, hire new staff for the weekend programs, open a new dining room in the middle of a pandemic and on a positive note Loaves and Fishes reached a major milestone of serving more than 5 Million Meals.

Many ask, “Why is 5 Million Meals served an accomplishment?” It is an accomplishment for our mission because it confirms the impact that Loaves and Fishes has on the community in need. All of us here at Loaves and Fishes agree it was a challenging year, but we are proud of our efforts and will continue to serve our mission with 100% effort in our meals served and every attempt forward to keep up with the demand.

As we begin our new fiscal year (July 1), it’s a great time to reflect on the past as well as look forward to the year ahead with new goals, new staff, new guests, new donors, and new community partners. As I look at the year ahead, I believe the Loaves and Fishes’ meal program will continue to be in high demand. Unfortunately, the pandemic is not 100% gone, it is still present in our communities. Food insecurity is real in Contra Costa County, many of our guests tell us they do not know what they would do without our services. We not only have a very reliable program for our guests, we also serve some amazing meals, thanks to my chefs in the kitchen!

I am hoping to expand our services in 2022, we need to reach more people in need living in Contra Costa County who cannot travel to our dining rooms. Through a grant from John Muir Community Health Fund, we are working with a consultant and evaluating how we can expand our services. We are almost done with the work plan and will be presenting the plan to the Loaves and Fishes’ Board of Directors. I am excited to do more for our community with the Loaves and Fishes’ services. I should have more information for everyone in our next newsletter.

Loaves and Fishes needs your donations this summer to keep all our good work going. I hope you feel comfortable knowing that your donation is in good hands and will go towards a program with a strong team behind it who are making your community a better place. I encourage you to come visit our program. I love to show people how Loaves and Fishes is “Nourishing Lives” every day!

Joleen Lafayette
Executive Director