The Human Services Coalition Award Committee has selected Loaves and Fishes as the recipient of the 2016 Cecilia Montaner-Vargas Spirit of Inclusion Award.
The Cecilia Montaner-Vargas Spirit of Inclusion Award is made to a person or agency who has made significant efforts to build diversity or inclusion in the local health and human services community in ways that are original, sustainable, can be replicated by others, and/or that can be shown to have had measurable effect.
“Loaves and Fishes was selected for this award in recognition of the thoughtful and intentional work it has done to increase the diversity of staff, volunteers, and guests through a variety of means. You hired an outreach coordinator specifically to increase diversity, increased the diversity of paid staff, participated in organizations like the Community Leaders of Color and hosted meetings of that group in the dining hall, invited community leaders to meals, collaborated in community events including the U2O series, and recruited local chefs to create food that celebrates other cultures. You also have welcomed the Muslim community by celebrating Eid and the Native American community with a celebration of their culture this past November. You have ensured that people in rural areas will have more access to the food and friendship offered at L&F by adjusting your meal times so they coincide better with bus schedules. By consciously seeking out opportunities to welcome groups that might not have thought of Loaves and Fishes as relevant to their lives, you truly have ensured that more people will have food for their bodies and dignity and freedom for their spirits, to paraphrase MLK Jr.
Previous recipients of this award include the Immigrant Services Program at Catholic Charities, Audrey Cooper for her work at the Multi-Cultural Resource Center, and Maureen Kelly & Tania Villa for their outreach to the LGBTQ population at Planned Parenthood.”