Announcing Two New DC Vendors

Announcing Two New DC Vendors

WASHINGTON, DC – A DC-based organization announced two new participating vendors in Washington, D.C. accepting breadcoin tokens as payment for food and drinks at their establishments.

Breadcoin is excited to welcome the new vendors serving the Anacostia and Ivy City neighborhoods. We are thankful for all of the food providers committed to the DC community.

The new vendors are:

Mama’s Pizza Kitchen 
2028 MLK Jr. Ave., SE

Texas Chicken and Burgers 
1239 Mount Olivet Rd., NE



Photo: Sharon Gustafson

Breadcoin and Ben’s Chili Bowl Team Up

Breadcoin and Ben’s Chili Bowl Team Up

Breadcoin partnered with DC legend, Ben’s Chili Bowl during the government shutdown in January, 2019 to ensure that workers without paychecks could receive a meal.

Founded in 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl is a landmark DC restaurant that has provided meals and much more to the community for over 60 years. We’re launching our partnership on MLK Day, Monday, January 21st in the spirit of Dr. King and Ben’s long history of giving back to the community.

Breadcoin and Ben’s Chili Bowl are excited to be among the people and businesses engaging the community to meet its needs.

Feeding Feds During Shutdown Initiative

Feeding Feds During Shutdown Initiative

Join us in making a difference! Breadcoin Foundation, a DC-based nonprofit, is providing a way for the community to feed unpaid TSA and other government employees and support staff during the shutdown.

Breadcoins are a food token that you purchase and give to someone in need.  They can also be given to nonprofits meeting needs.  In this case, your donation will help make an impact by providing funding to immediately feed and encourage beleaguered government workers, who have just missed their first paycheck.

We are raising $7000 to provide a meal for any TSA or other government employee working without pay.  In conjunction with committed, participating food vendors, your funds will go toward putting enough Breadcoins in the hands of these workers, with about five coins ($2.20 value each) providing a complete meal at the airport.

Government employees can receive food tokens valued under $20 under the governmental ethics guidelines.  We want to thank them for their service and let them know that the public appreciates their work under stressful conditions and without pay.  This is but one example of Breadcoins being used as a tool to link community needs with generous folks wanted to meet those needs.

Thanks in advance for your contributions to this cause that means so much to the team that serves to make Breadcoin happen.

Anacostia Community Clean-up Day

Anacostia Community Clean-up Day

Community has always been at the heart of Breadcoin’s mission. The community food tokens are designed to foster engagement, generating face-to-face connections between people of all walks of life who call the same city home. That’s why it felt natural to team up with some other local community organizations to help spread the word about Breadcoin, and to help Breadcoin better know and understand our community here in the DMV area.

Recently, we gathered at the steps of Kramer Middle School in Anacostia on a chilly Saturday morning for a community clean-up organized by Code 3, a nonprofit started by retired police officers to help build better relationships between the police and members of the communities they serve. Armed with rakes, brooms, and sturdy work gloves, we walked the streets picking up trash and clearing debris, chatting with curious neighbors along the way.

Afterwards, we warmed up together over burgers and hot dogs grilled outside and shared by all who walked by. There was a small farmer’s market offering fresh oranges, tomatoes, lettuce, and sweet potatoes, along with canned goods and other dried foods, all of it generously donated by Serve DMV, an outreach arm of McLean Bible Church, which shares Breadcoin’s mission to ensure that none of our neighbors go hungry. We were also joined by Captain Cookie – one of Breadcoin’s newest vendors – whose baby blue food truck filled with mouth-watering homemade cookies and ice cream in classic flavors proved to be the hit of the day.

What felt most remarkable about the event was the sense of unity among the various groups represented, and the ease with which we melded together our shared commitment to community. There was no battle for prominence, nor any attempts to outshine one another in the overpopulated arena of non-profits operating in the DC region. Everyone played their part with enthusiasm, graciousness, and humility, recognizing that when it comes to community, we are each, at best, only one small piece of a complex, living puzzle.

That’s how we see ourselves at Breadcoin. That’s why we welcome partnerships and outreach events and the chance to team up with others to talk about our common hopes for our city. It’s a modern-day echo of the words of the prophet Jeremiah, reminding us that when we seek the welfare of those around us, we too will prosper.

We’re excited to keep spreading the word about Breadcoin, and to see more and more tokens in circulation on our streets. But ultimately, we’re most excited about how this incredible community of retired cops, pastors, teachers, mentors, students, economists, authors, ice-cream truck vendors, and so many others are working together for the shared prosperity of us all.

Story: Colleen Borovsky; Photo: Yuri Borovsky

Jerry Gill

Jerry Gill

Jerry Gill is not the type of man you’d expect to have served 40 years in prison. Now in his mid-60s, Jerry has large, gentle eyes, and his short hair shares the same salt-and-pepper seasoning that President Obama developed in his last years in office, nature’s badge of recognition for men who have weathered trials in life.

Jerry’s trials began at age 13 when he landed in juvenile detention for the first time. Born in Northwest D.C., he grew up just two blocks from the U Street community that birthed DC’s Black Renaissance – coined as Black Broadway – in the height of the Jim Crow era. He dreamed of a life of Cadillacs and beautiful women, but the path it led him down was anything but glamorous. Jerry spent nearly four decades behind bars, serving most of his sentence in solitary confinement.

Yet, the most interesting part of Jerry’s story is what happened after his release, less than two years ago. His case manager sent him to Central Union Mission, a faith-based nonprofit that serves the needs of the homeless and underprivileged, for a two week stay. Rooted in old habits, he immediately began looking for a new place to rob – but never found one. Instead, he discovered the opportunity to become a new man. A better man. Central Union Mission helped lead him through a spiritual transformation that changed his heart and showed him that his past no longer defined him.

Today, you’ll find Jerry in a rather surprising place – inside an industrial kitchen, baking muffins. He works for Mission Muffins, a ready-to-work program of Central Union Mission with retail and wholesale operations. Though he had never baked anything in his life prior to his first day on the job, he was trained to bake over 10 types of muffins, scones, and breakfast pies from scratch, along with three other men. He enjoys the work, and beams with pride when someone tries one of his muffins for the first time. He’s grateful for a steady job, new skills, and the ability to pay his own bills. He’s also grateful for Breadcoin, because it gives him an opportunity to give to others.

Mission Muffins was the first vendor to partner with Breadcoin, accepting the coins as payment for food items. Breadcoin provided a loan which enabled them to expand – hiring more staff, baking more goods, and distributing them further and wider. Some Sundays, Jerry and his team set up shop inside local churches and sell hundreds of muffins to hungry congregants.

If you ever get to meet Jerry, you’ll be struck by his sincere gratitude and generosity. When he’s not busy baking or volunteering at the Mission, he hands out breadcoins on the street, and considers it a blessing that he’s able to help people in need.

So next time you’re near Union Station, head to 65 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, and look for the muffin mobile. For just a couple of bucks or a breadcoin, you can try one of Jerry’s muffins (he recommends the Singin’ The Bluesberry), along with a steaming cup of “mud” – an affectionate nickname for their potently-brewed coffee. The guys on the team will be glad to see you and to share more stories of redemption, transformation, and hope borne out of the simple idea that no one in our community should go hungry.

Written by Colleen Borovsky.


Ali’s Hot Dog Stand

Ali’s Hot Dog Stand

Can a hot dog change a city?

It’s not an idea you’ll hear discussed on Capitol Hill, but a new vendor in downtown Metro Center believes it’s true.

In his old life, Ali was an Arabic professor at a university here in D.C. Today, he spends his days inside a tiny metal stand at the bustling corner of F St. and 10th St. NW, where he sells hot dogs, hot pretzels, chips, cookies, ice cream, and bottled drinks to downtown workers, shoppers, tourists, and locals.

Ali thinks that nothing is more important than how we treat one another as fellow human beings. He sees a lot of need in D.C. Hungry, homeless, and hopeless folks are a common sight, and he has a heart for helping them all. But he wasn’t comfortable giving out money, unsure whether it would go towards necessities or to fuel harmful behaviors. That’s why he was excited when he heard about Breadcoin – coins that can be exchanged for food at participating vendors. Though breadcoins are not legal tender, they work just like money does at Ali’s stand and at other vendors.

Anyone can purchase breadcoins and give them out – to a hungry stranger, to a friend or co-worker, or to a nonprofit. Ali’s Hot Dog Stand is one of a handful of participating vendors located throughout the city where people can purchase food using the coins. One breadcoin is enough to buy one of Ali’s hearty hot dogs loaded with ketchup, mustard, relish, cheese, and chili sauce, if desired. Arguably one of the best deals in town!

He believes that we change our communities person-by-person, hot-dog-by-hot-dog. By giving someone something to eat, you’re doing much more than just feeding an empty stomach (a worthwhile goal in itself); you’re also showing dignity to that person – telling them that they matter, that they are worth your time, that they deserve kindness and respect. That’s a simple message with transformative potential, and one that is far too often lacking amidst the fast-paced, consumer-driven streets of downtown D.C.

A natural conversationalist, Ali will happily engage any customer as he prepares their order – in an impressive variety of languages. Next time you’re in the area, stop by for an inexpensive lunch and to learn more about how Ali and others are partnering with Breadcoin to make sure that none of our neighbors go hungry. It just might be the crazy, little idea that changes Washington.

Story: Colleen Borovsky; Photo: Sharon Gustafson

Announcing Two New Vendors

Announcing Two New Vendors

WASHINGTON, DC – A DC-based organization announced two new participating vendors in Washington, D.C. accepting breadcoin tokens as payment for food and drinks at their establishments. Cary Umhau (pictured above) is enjoying a hot dog at Ali’s Hot Dog Stand.

Breadcoin is excited to welcome the new vendors. We are thankful for all of the food providers committed to the DC community. Please check out all of the participating locations in the Breadcoin Network.

The new vendors are:

Ali’s Hot Dog Stand
corner of 10th St. & F St., NW

Captain Cookie and the Milkman
2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
3 food trucks in various DC-area locations.