Metro Weekly

Food & Friends receives $2 million gift from the Bresler family

Gift is one of the largest given to any social service organization in the D.C. area in the past two years

Food & Friends staff and volunteers – Photo: Food & Friends, via Facebook.

Food & Friends, the nonprofit organization that provides prepared meals and nutrition counseling to individuals suffering from life-threatening illnesses, has accepted a multi-year $2 million gift from Fleur, Sidney, and Phyllis Bresler and the Bresler Foundation, Inc.

The gift, which was announced last night at Food & Friends’ annual Chef’s Best Dinner and Auction, marks the largest gift in the nonprofit’s history, and one of the largest individual gifts in the Washington, D.C. region’s history. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s online database of charitable gifts of $1 million or more from individuals, only four individual gifts over $1 million have been made to social service organizations in the area in the past two years.

The money received will help fund Food & Friends’ specialized nutrition services, and allow the organization to hire additional development and program staff.

“This generous gift by the Breslers will dramatically leverage our capacity to serve Washington area residents living with critical illnesses in both the near and distant future,” Criag Shniderman, the executive director of Food & Friends, said in a statement.

In recognition of the generosity of the Bresler family, Food & Friends’ headquarters at 219 Riggs Rd. NE will be named “The William P. Bresler Building” during a special ceremony in the fall of 2017. The building is named in honor of Bill Bresler, a chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America and a former Food & Friends volunteer. Bill, the son of Fleur Bresler, also became a client of Food & Friends after suffering from AIDS-related complications before his death in 2001.

“Knowing that this gift will enable Food & Friends to sustain their mission for years to come is extremely gratifying,” Sidney Bresler, Bill’s brother, and his wife, Phyllis, said in a statement. “We are honored to have Bill recognized in such a meaningful way.”

In total, Food & Friends has delivered more than 20 million meals to over 30,000 individuals suffering from illnesses like HIV/AIDS or cancer since the organization’s inception 29 years ago.

“I feel strongly about supporting organizations within the greater metropolitan area, my home, that are serving the needs of the community,” said Fleur Bresler. “Food & Friends certainly falls into that category by serving such a wide portion of the region.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com