It’s one of those moments that you don’t forget, according to Brett Plano.
“I was serving breakfast at Our Daily Bread Employment Center when I noticed a middle-aged man shaking terribly as he sat at the table,” Plano recalled. “He said he had never been inside a ‘soup kitchen’ or a ‘homeless shelter.’ He never before had to ask for help. I reassured him that things would get better.”
That connection motivates Plano and Ryan Coudon, co-founders/co-owners of the Plano-Coudon Construction Company, to make philanthropic giving and volunteering an integral part of company culture. To foster involvement, Plano and Coudon make $100 donations per employee to a charitable cause of their choice. They also offer one day off a year to volunteer within the community.
“We believe in giving back to the community that has allowed us to grow. It’s not a duty. It’s our passion,” said Plano.
A culture of giving
Once a month, you will find Plano and members of his staff serving breakfast at Our Daily Bread Employment Center. In December, his team served a festive Christmas lunch.
“There is nothing that can ruin my day when I spend the morning at Our Daily Bread,” said Rosalind Gray, a former Plano-Coudon Construction administrative assistant.
What strikes Plano and his staff the most about Our Daily Bread Employment Center is the guests’ gratitude, and how humbling it is to encounter and serve people in need.
“Some of our staff get quite emotional when serving breakfast at Our Daily Bread particularly at the end of the month when people are running low on funds,” Plano said. “That is when you’ll find grandparents bringing their grandchildren in for breakfast.”
Plano and Coudon are models in philanthropic giving. Plano serves on the board at Catholic Charities of Baltimore, as well as for Howard County Conservancy and his alma later, Mount Saint Joseph High School. He’s also the 2019 chair of the Taste of Maryland event to benefit Our Daily Bread Employment Center. Coudon serves on the Board for the United Way of Central Maryland.
“Honestly, there’s something so incredible about meeting the needs of others,” Plano said. “It may not solve all their problems, but you can help to make things better.”