DCentric » Bread for the City http://dcentric.wamu.org Race, Class, The District. Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © WAMU New Dental Clinic Bolsters Access for D.C.’s Low-Income Patients http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/new-dental-clinic-bolsters-access-for-d-c-s-low-income-patients/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/new-dental-clinic-bolsters-access-for-d-c-s-low-income-patients/#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2012 21:27:36 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14197 Continue reading ]]>

Elahe Izadi / DCentric

Dentist Steven Myles shows how he is able to access a patient's medical records during appointments in Bread for the City's new dental clinic.

It’s been more than a decade since Florence Sandridge has been to a dentist. Now, the 80-year-old needs a plate put in her mouth.

“Usually the dentist is so expensive,” she said. That’s why last week she went to the ribbon-cutting of a free dental clinic for low-income D.C. residents.

The Bread for the City single-room clinic — with its green walls, new equipment and a couple of dentist chairs — fills a big gap. There are few options for low-income D.C. residents. Those on Medicare, Medicaid or signed up with D.C. Health Alliance receive some dental coverage. There are also a few other free dental clinics in the city — such as one run by nonprofit So Others Might Eat — and a mobile dental clinic that makes stops throughout the city. “But there just aren’t enough services,” said Kristin Valentine, Bread for the City’s development director. Dental care is consistently the most requested service among the Bread for the City’s clients.

Even those with dental coverage don’t regularly see a dentist; about half of low-income adults with coverage haven’t been to the dentist in at least a year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. The reasons vary. Some have problems finding dentists who accept Medicaid. Out-of-pocket costs for those under private and public plans may be too expensive for families. Other issues keep low-income adults from getting dental care, such as lack of transportation, child care and work arrangements and cultural barriers, according to the Kaiser report.

Joan Carson, 56, is a Bread for the City client who serves on the nonprofit’s advisory board. She said it’s difficult to find dentists who accept Medicare and Medicaid. Another advisory board member and client, 54-year-old Deborah Branch, said she was thankful for the clinic, which has been a long time coming.

“A lot of people, especially older people, can’t afford [dental services], especially if you don’t have transportation,” Branch said. “It costs so much that they go without. They don’t have no other choice. What are they going to do?”

The dental clinic is part of a larger, nearly $7 million campaign to expand Bread for the City. A new medical clinic opened in late 2010 and the dental clinic is housed in one of its spare rooms. The cost to start the clinic and run it for a year comes to about $280,000, which came from a BlueCross BlueShield grant and private donations.

Bread for the City’s medical director Randi Abramson said the need for accessible dental care is “enormous.”

“There is a close relationship between dental health and overall health,” Abramson said. Problems can be serious, such as the untreated infection that caused the death of 12-year-old Prince George’s County boy in 2007. They can be minor as well; bad teeth can make it too difficult to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, contributing to other health issues over a long period of time.

“But then there’s this whole self-esteem issue,” Abramson added. Some people don’t want to smile, or feel ashamed of their teeth. That can even make it difficult to job hunt for those who feel self conscious about their appearance.

“They all can’t wait to get an appointment with a dentist,” she said of Bread for the City’s clients. “It’s not that they don’t want it or don’t understand how important it is.”

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Prince Charles Visits D.C. Urban Farm — Next Time, Also Do ‘The Dougie?’ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/05/prince-charles-visits-d-c-urban-farm-next-time-also-do-the-dougie/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/05/prince-charles-visits-d-c-urban-farm-next-time-also-do-the-dougie/#comments Wed, 04 May 2011 16:50:18 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=6435 Continue reading ]]> Just days after the royal wedding, England’s Prince Charles visited D.C.’s largest urban farm.

Prince Charles, a sustainable agriculture advocate, visited Ledroit Park’s Common Good City Farm Tuesday as part of his D.C. trip. WAMU’s Courtney Collins reports that:

Common Good City Farm is a farm and education center that grows food for low-income Washington D.C. residents and encourages members of the community to volunteer.

Amanda Formica works at the farm every Tuesday and thinks Prince Charles is a fitting ambassador for sustainability.

“England is way ahead of the U.S. as far as its commitment to sustainability and global warming and creating green spaces,” says Formica.

Courtesy of: Courtney Collins

Prince Charles took time out of his farm tour to visit with community members standing outside the wooden fence.

Urban farming is cropping up throughout the city; just last month non-profit Bread for the City began work on “the largest” rooftop vegetable garden in the District.

Are these efforts the answer to D.C.’s food deserts? The mission behind most of them is to educate people on sustainable food and healthy eating, quite important points to make, but they can’t literally feed everyone in a food desert. Rather, advocates say such efforts help foster a more accessible conversation around these topics. Bread for the City communications development associate Greg Bloom has said about his group’s garden that:

All too often the question of food sustainability and environmental sustainability, it’s actually a really elitist conversation in that the people who are talking about it are the ones with the resources to experiment and buy high-end produce. We don’t think it has to be that way…. And it’s important for us to create at least one space for that.

Common Good City Farm is another space for that, as well.

As we noted before, there are exercise deserts in D.C., too. So although Prince Charles highlighting sustainable agriculture is important, perhaps next time he can also encourage exercise — may we suggest replicating First Lady Michelle Obama leading middle schoolers in doing “The Dougie?”

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Huge Rooftop Vegetable Garden Coming to D.C. http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/04/huge-rooftop-vegatable-garden-coming-to-d-c/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/04/huge-rooftop-vegatable-garden-coming-to-d-c/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 16:11:09 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=5753 Continue reading ]]>

Anna John

Bread for the City expanded its northwest center, reopening in January.

No room to grow a vegetable garden? Just go to your roof.

That’s what nonprofit Bread for the City will begin building this weekend on top of its recently renovated Northwest center, creating one of the largest rooftop produce gardens in D.C.

The idea came out of an initiative by a couple of employees at the organization’s Southeast center, where they had planted some herbs and vegetables on the patio. Development Associate in Communications Greg Bloom says the organization then decided to turn the Northwest center’s new green garden into one that grew more than just plants that absorb rain water.

DC Greenworks will provide assistance and clients will help maintain the garden.

The Bread for the City garden will be 3,500 square ft. large with 30 raised beds, and all the more poignant for Bloom is the fact this garden is going on the roof of a building that houses a medical clinic and food pantry at 7th street NW between P and Q streets.

“D.C. is notorious for really bad food deserts, especially in low income parts of the city,” Bloom says.

Bloom says the problem of food insecurity and malnutrition is “more complicated than where can you find food in your neighborhood, and the solutions to it are also more complicated than, ‘we can’t grow all the food we need.’”

Produce will be planted in raised beds on the roof.

Courtesy of Bread for the City

And indeed, this garden won’t be able to feed all Bread for the City clients (the organization serves 4,500 families a month — that’s a lot of food for a roof to produce). Instead, it will primarily serve as a way to educate clients and the community about food justice and also serve as a green space “to foster reflection” and spur dialogue between and among clients, community organizers and donors about food sustainability.

“All too often the question of food sustainability and environmental sustainability, it’s actually a really elitist conversation in that the people who are talking about it are the ones with the resources to experiment and buy high-end produce,” Bloom says. “We don’t think it has to be that way…. And it’s important for us to create at least one space for that.”

Work on the garden will begin Saturday (weather permitting) and ramp up, continuing April 23. And, yes, you can help.

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