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February 19, 2014

Proud to Serve: Message from Our New Board President

Food & Friends' mission is close to my heart.

Mike Bento is the new President of Food & Friends'
Board of Directors. He has been on the Board since 2009.
For the past two decades, I've had the opportunity to volunteer in Food & Friends' kitchen and on the road delivering meals. I joined the Board of Directors in 2009 and in December of last year, they elected me to serve as your new President. Through these invaluable experiences, I have come to appreciate the critical role that you, our volunteers and donors, play in ensuring that each of our more than 3,000 clients have the meals and nutrition counseling needed to fight their illness. I look forward to leading this organization as we all continue to make a tremendous impact on those who are sick or are caring for loved ones.

More than 25 years ago, as AIDS ravaged our community, a small group of committed volunteers came together to be sure that no one suffering from AIDS would be hungry or alone. First with meals donated by local restaurants, then from a cramped kitchen in a church basement, and today from a bustling facility in Northeast Washington, Food & Friends has served more than 17 million meals to over 25,000 of our family, friends and neighbors in the Washington metro area. This year we plan to serve more meals and clients than in 2013, and this cannot be done without you.

Since day one, despite snow storms, wind storms, economic uncertainties and government shut downs, no client of Food & Friends has EVER missed a meal. That's because of donors and volunteers like you. I hope you read the thank you notes we frequently share with you -- our clients are thanking you, the friend they've never met but rely on every day.

I truly believe that Food & Friends is a beacon of excellence. Thanks to your incredible support, and our great staff led by Executive Director Craig Shniderman, we're always looking for how we can do more to improve our service, achieve greater operational efficiencies, engage volunteers and serve more clients. This year, through an innovative partnership with George Washington University, we're pilot testing an approach to provide meals and nutrition counseling to adults with severe diabetes. We will be telling you more about that in the coming months, and about other plans to grow our services in the community.

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, thank you for your continued support of this vital mission we serve together. If you have any questions or want to reach me, please do not hesitate to email me at I also encourage you to connect with us through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see the impact of your support.

I look forward to serving with you the next couple years.

Mike Bento
President, Board of Directors

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