During the period October 2000 through August 2001, Project RESTORE volunteers brought 1730 Race Street back to life. A former grocery store, the building was not in great shape. Volunteers worked hard to make it into a clean, functional space that would house all of Our Daily Bread’s operations.
The refreshed building opened on August 28, 2001. Since then, we have utilized the space to serve countless guests and bring together volunteers, staff, board, and community.
A lot has happened in 20 years, so we’re taking this opportunity to share a few staff memories of our time at 1730 Race Street:
My first time visiting Our Daily Bread was when I worked for the Homeless Coalition around 2002 or 2003. I didn’t know at the time that this was a new building, because I’d been hearing about the “Daily Bread” for years. I was visiting all of the agencies that served people experiencing homelessness and they each had their own personalities, but Our Daily Bread felt different. It was filled with people I knew from the neighborhood, but they were relaxed and happy in a way that I didn’t always see. It was bright, it was clean, everyone was friendly – I remember thinking, “what IS this place?” If I remember correctly, there was even a dog (Cocoa) in the office visiting for the day. Whenever the Homeless Coalition needed a place to meet with homeless people, they always picked Our Daily Bread because it was a neutral space where they felt the safest (plus the staff always left out snacks and coffee). We conducted many community meetings, had some challenging conversations, and even started a worker’s rights agency inside the Kids Club room under the watch of the Lorax painted on the wall. When the opportunity came to work at Our Daily Bread, I jumped on it. When I first started in 2016, I visited Cookie and I told her I was the new Executive Director. Her face lit up and she said, “Our Daily Bread – that’s the place to BE.” Our Daily Bread is a building, but more than that, it’s a feeling. It’s like two decades of love have soaked into the walls and you can feel it when you walk in the door whether it’s your first time or your thousandth time.
-Georgine, Executive Director
My favorite memory from Our Daily Bread’s history at 1730 Race Street is our opening day and the complete and utter joy you could see in Cookie Vogelpohl’s, our founder’s, smile. Cookie spent so much time, energy, blood, sweat, tears, and prayers on this building. From raising money through grants and our very generous donors, to searching for the perfect location where we could help the most people, to finding an amazing team to rehab the building, to working on the designs to set everything up perfectly – she put in endless hours.
Cookie’s excitement was contagious. We were finally able to all be under the same roof – the soup kitchen operations, the social worker, Kids Club, and our administrative offices were all together. And her favorite thing about that was her ability to connect with the “folks” every day. She loved greeting our guests at the doors as we opened each day and spending time with them as they ate – getting to hear their stories and sharing her own stories with them.
That opening day, though, was the best. Seeing the joy in Cookie’s eyes as it all finally came together and the first guests came through our front doors is, by far, my favorite memory of my years working at Our Daily Bread. I can still see her beautiful smile and the sparkle in her eyes.
-Val, Office Administrator
It is so hard to narrow down all of my experiences here at Our Daily Bread into one favorite memory, but many of them fall into the category of miracles. Miracles happen here at ODB. When all the power went out in the neighborhood, yet ODB still had half of the lights, the coffee urn and the ovens on! One day, halfway through the meal service, our cook realized that she had miscounted the chicken and was about to run out. Within 10 minutes, a donation of 100 lbs of fresh chicken was dropped off at our door. Another day, the dishwasher was struggling to keep up with cleaning the forks, our supply was so low. I had barely gotten the words out of my mouth, “We need more forks!” Then, the doorbell rang, and standing there was an ODB board member holding an entire tray full of brand new forks! Those are just a few of the little miracles. The other miracles are more subtle, the lives that are touched, the friendships that are formed, the helping hands that come together every day for the same purpose. To make a difference, to put a smile on a stranger’s face, to brighten someone’s day.
-Kathy, Director of Operations
Project RESTORE volunteers included members of the following churches and schools:
St John, West Chester
St Max, Upper Liberty Township
St Michael, Sharonville
St Susanna, Mason
Lasalle High School
McAuley High School
Mercy High School
Moeller High School
Mt Notre Dame High School
Purcell Marian High School
Thanks to all who have made this work possible. Enjoy some photos of the original renovation below!