July 7, 2023

Planting The Seed: The Beginnings of Breadcoin in Central PA

A generation comes and goes faster than seems possible. How can we help every generation to thrive when something as essential as food is so scarce for some in our community?

Breadcoin helps put the dignity of choice about when and where to eat back into the hands of hungry neighbors. It allows our community to work collectively while benefiting those in need.

The leaders of the PA Capital Region team shared some great insights with me about where Breadcoin has been and where it’s headed. After discussions with David Vader (PA Regional Coordinator) and Aisha Mobley (PA Community Engagement Leader), I was able to gain an understanding of the beginnings of Breadcoin in our region.

David and Aisha worked very closely with and received great support from the Breadcoin Foundation, which has led to success. David said this about his interest in Breadcoin, “I was intrigued that Breadcoin keeps charitable giving dollars in the community longer and makes them work harder. Dollars given to Breadcoin meets the immediate needs of food insecure people, but Breadcoin also resources trusted local nonprofits that provide a variety of essential services, and supports locally owned food businesses that bring jobs and grow generational wealth in the community. Too many dollars given to charity make a quick exit from the community they were intended to serve.  I like that Breadcoin feeds hungry people and then sticks around to support local nonprofit and business entrepreneurs.”

Breadcoin works with local businesses and nonprofits, allowing nonprofits to get involved in the community and vendors to grow and earn extra cash. Breadcoin also highly benefits those who are without a kitchen and unable to prepare their own meals.

In addition to serving as our Community Engagement Leader, Aisha works for Christian Churches United (CCU), one of Breadcoin PA’s first community partners. CCU works with many of the same people Breadcoin does, so Aisha is able to spread the word and distribute Breadcoin to many people and organizations. She has also acquired many of our vendors and community partners.

When it came time to learn about pitching to vendors, David met with Breadcoin Founder, Scott Borger, and the DC Community Engagement Leader, Pastor William Spence, to learn the ropes. The first vendor to accept Breadcoin in the PA capital region was Good Brotha’s Book Cafe, followed soon after by Knead Pizza. According to David, it was a rocky road after that. “Before we could sign up a third vendor, and just days before an important networking event for Breadcoin hosted by Kim and Kelly Phipps at Messiah University, both Good Brotha’s and Knead Pizza closed!  Thankfully, the closure of Good Brotha’s was temporary, but our start was rocky.”

Thankfully, Aisha joined the Breadcoin team and quickly turned things around. Her gifts of communication and empathy with others have won over many vendors in the central Pennsylvania area. Some of Aisha‘s first vendors included Taco Amigos and Roll’n Jayz Food Truck, both in Harrisburg. Our vendors are critical in the Breadcoin partnership. When they accept Breadcoin, they are allowing those who are food insecure to have a choice of when, where, and what to eat.

Because Breadcoin works with multiple facets of the community, there will inevitably be challenges along the way. David has been a part of the PA growth from the beginning.  He puts it this way: “Breadcoin is a three-legged stool, requiring community-minded vendors located near trusted partner organizations and our members who sign up to donate a few Breadcoins each month.  It took a while to build trust among the vendors and partners that Breadcoin would be a reliable presence in the community.  We are still working to recruit Pennsylvanians to support Breadcoin in PA.  A lot of our support so far comes from friends in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.”

Some of the challenges Aisha has experienced with Breadcoin are more on the vendor recruitment side, as she works to make sure that each vendor treats those with different backgrounds, skin colors, and abilities as equals. Hunger has many faces. We do not want anyone to be turned away by a Breadcoin vendor. Aisha’s work is essential, as it ensures all will be treated well by our vendors.

Both David and Aisha have a great vision for Breadcoin, and see it being very impactful in central Pennsylvania and beyond. Breadcoin brings about change in the community through shared meals and by fighting food insecurity, all while boosting cash flow for local restaurants.

One very important question that is asked quite frequently is how to get involved with Breadcoin. Both David and Aisha shared a few simple answers

It was great to talk with David and Aisha, and gain insight from our founding members of Breadcoin in PA. Each person on this team is essential in their own way. Stay tuned for a post, introducing our team members!

Sadie McFarland

Marketing Intern with Breadcoin PA Capital Region

Senior Marketing Major at Messiah University