The origins of Our Daily Bread lie in the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where the nuns and volunteers would distribute food to those who knocked on the kitchen door of the rectory. In 1979, the rector, Msgr. Paul Love, thought to himself that there must be a more dignified way to get nutritious food to those in need. Later, he consulted with his friend Hal Smith, then executive director of Catholic Charities, and they created a plan for a program that Msgr. Love eventually named Our Daily Bread (ODB).
Greg Conderacci of Catholic Charities and organizer of the Our Daily Bread project said, “The most important thing I did was hire Sister Josanna Abromaitis, SSND, to be the first director of ODB. She supervised the construction, designed the policies and procedures (some of which are still in effect) and, most importantly, recruited thousands of volunteers. She’s a bona fide saint in my book – ODB was her first miracle!”
Prior to joining Catholic Charities, Greg volunteered for Fr. John Adams in Washington, D.C. Father Adams’ program So Others May Eat (SOME) was the prototype for the ODB model in which parishes and other organizations supply casseroles and volunteer servers. Greg noted that, like the Our Daily Bread Employment Center (ODBEC), the SOME program is still in operation and has greatly expanded over the years due to the increased need for services.