Grateful Bread uplifts community spirit
A repeat guest at a monthly dinner event described it as a one-of-a-kind boon for many community members.
Randall Walker said: “It keeps us going, it keeps us uplifted, it keeps us praised.
“It's the best.”
Mr Walker, from Pembroke, spoke to The Royal Gazette at the Grateful Bread's Thanksgiving dinner at St Andrew's Church last Thursday night.
The event provided community members in need with a meal, as well as clothing, household necessities and toiletries.
Meals are provided free of charge through community members and corporate donors.
Thursday night's event was the 22nd hosted by the organisation.
Mr Walker, 58, said that he began coming to the events to be with friends and that he had been to “practically” all of them.
Mark Procter has volunteered with his family since the beginning.
The 46-year-old said that his wife, Laura, and their two sons Alex, 5, and Elliot, 9, and daughter Jaime, 15, also took part.
Mr Procter, a 19-year veteran with the Bermuda Police Service, said the family enjoyed doing their part to help the community.
The Southampton resident said: “I just like to see our kids see what giving is about, and who we are giving to.”
He encouraged others to lend their time to the events.
Mr Procter said: “If you want to get involved and make a difference, doing this kind of thing is very rewarding.”
The event welcomed residents from the Westmeath Residential and Nursing Care Home.
Akilah Reid, the activities co-ordinator at Westmeath, said that residents of the Pembroke facility welcomed the chance to “come out and interact” with the community.
She added: “They are glad when they get invited to things.”
Ms Reid, 29, said that residents had looked forward to the event — and that some were already anticipating a return.
The Warwick resident said she loved to see her seniors having fun, conversing and catching up with old friends.
Ms Reid added: “As long as they are having fun, I'm happy.”
Juliana Snelling, the founder of Grateful Bread, said that having the Westmeath residents at the event was important.
She said that elderly Bermudians were often overlooked and neglected.
Ms Snelling added: “We need to appreciate them and show them that we love them.”
She said that Grateful Bread had received a “very positive” reception when it reached out to the care home.
A minibus was used to help transport the Westmeath residents to the event.
Ms Snelling said she was “absolutely thrilled” by the total turnout for the event and that 170 food tickets were handed out to attendees.
She encouraged anyone who could benefit from a helping hand to attend Grateful Bread's next event.
Ms Snelling said: “This is the best example, I think, of Bermuda coming together, of all races, of all backgrounds, of all political groups, in a loving way.
“They will feel the warmth when they come.”
Ms Snelling said that new volunteers were always welcome.
She explained: “It's a perfect way to give.”
The Grateful Bread Christmas Dinner will be held on December 20.