Board of Directors
Willie Parish Jr., Executive Director - Bread of Life Mission
Towards the end of The Great Depression, Mavel Sherman started Bread of Life in a building on the corner of Washington and Occidental Street in downtown Seattle. The first year was filled with challenges, including a week-long closure due to shortage of funds and problems with Mavel Sherman’s health.
After nine months of starting Bread of Life, and Mavel Sherman asked Jennie Conrad to take over as the Director of Bread of Life. Jennie Conrad agreed and accepted the position in October 1939. She served in that position for the next 35 years. Ms. Conrad began her social work with the Salvation Army and worked throughout the United States before she came to the Bread of Life. During her time at Bread of Life, she met and married Jack O’Hara, a new Christian who came to the BOLM looking for assistance. He was eventually ordained as a minister and served as Bread of Life’s co-Director for eighteen years.
Jennie and Rev. Jack O’Hara purchased a home in 1942 that was a subsidiary of the Bread of Life and a place for participants in the program to live during in their rehabilitation. A building committee was appointed in 1944. The committee stepped out in faith by making a payment of $1,000 for the building on the corner of 1st Ave and South Main, which remains the present home of the Bread of Life. Bread of Life drew financial support from three principal sources–rent from the hotel rooms in the building, offerings at Bread of Life’s services, and donations from sponsors.
1945 – 2009
While building and maintaining Bread of Life’s programs, the first recorded board meeting was March 15th, 1945 and began with three board members. Today we have eight board members.
Bread of Life continues to provide temporary facilities, a bed, food clothing, and a safe environment for those who are in need. Bread of Life reaches beyond the physical needs by offering an opportunity to make a life-changing decision to accept Jesus Christ. Bread of Life is interdenominational and is supported entirely by individuals, churches, businesses, and foundations that believe in giving hope to Seattle’s homeless. Bread of Life is an integral part of the historic Pioneer Square district in downtown Seattle and partners with many local organizations to bring improvements to the whole community.
A Look at the Tomorrow
The Bread of Life has a dedicated staff, Executive Director and Board of Directors who are committed to living according to the Gospel by being actively involved in the Pioneer Square community. The future goals of the Bread of Life are as follows:
- Grow the capaity in our residential LifeChange substance abuse recovery program
- Expand our shelter beyond daytime hours with the goal of creating a 24-hour program
We are honored to have several companies and organizations that have contributed to our work at the Mission:
Safeco Insurance Established in 2006, the Safeco Insurance Fund, a fund of the Liberty Mutual Foundation, supports the communities in which we live and work. Our grants attempt to educate low-income children, strengthen cultural treasures, protect our most fragile, and uplift those most often left out or behind.
Campbell Nelson Cares
Campbell Nelson Cares was created out of the desire to help meet the basic needs of those less fortunate by partnering with our employees and customers. This partnership involves Campbell Nelson employees and customers giving of their time and resources to manage the distribution of funds and talents to various non-profits and ministries that work to relieve the suffering of others.
KGNW 820 AM
KGNW takes the relationship with their listeners very seriously. It's more than just figuring out what content would be the most entertaining. Believers and unbelievers alike look for spiritual truth that matters, delivered by men and women of God who are trustworthy and credible. Their goal to "Inspire Thought and Impact Lives" remains clear.
The Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound (ECF)
The Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound (ECF) is a unique employee-owned charitable foundation. Since 1951, generous Boeing employees have contributed $500,000,000 (half- a-billion dollars!) to local Puget Sound nonprofits. ECF grants enable agencies to purchase equipment, renovate their facilities and create new programs that directly help their clients and strengthen our communities. Since 1979, the Employees Community Fund has funded $208,700 in direct grants to support Bread of Life.
WATERSHED Science & Engineering
WATERSHED Science & Engineering considers community service to be an integral part of their corporate culture. They engage in several office wide projects each year such as serving lunches at the Bread of Life Mission or sorting food at the Emergency Feeding Program. In addition, their employees are provided with paid leave in order to engage in community service activities that are of interest to them, both locally and globally. As a business located in Pioneer Square, they are proud to partner with the Bread of Life to bring hope and help to Seattle’s homeless and hurting residents.
Food Lifeline works with the food industry and its surpluses to devise creative solutions to ending hunger, including redirecting good food from manufacturers, farmers, grocery stores, and restaurants that may otherwise go to waste. Founded in 1979, Food Lifeline consists of a food program network of 275 members, including the Bread of Life Mission. The Mission has been certified by Food Lifeline to meet the highest standards for client care and food safety.
Bread of Life Mission has been supported by numerous faithful volunteers from churches and other ministries both in Seattle and more regionally as well. Individuals from these communities give their time throughout the week to lead chapel services and pray with men who enter the Mission’s doors during the evening for warm meals and shelter. If interested in partaking in such ministry, let us know!