Anthony Butler, MSW
Mr. Butler’s journey in the field of human services has taken a circuitous, but somewhat consistent, path. In the beginning, while completing an undergraduate degree in philosophy, he worked in an old mill town’s community outreach in Massachusetts. During this time, Mr. Butler developed a program for Vietnam Veterans, which was designed to help veterans access services and achieve greater integration into the local community. Mr. Butler has now worked in the field of social service and community organizing for over 30 years. During this time, all of his work has been of a community-based nature. In Albany, New York, he was assistant director of a community outreach center. This center consisted of a soup kitchen, a food pantry, eviction prevention, a large youth program, and shelter. Very peripatetic in the early days, Mr. Butler moved to rural North Carolina to work on migrant issues. During his tenure there, his input was vital in organizing a rural healthcare association; and he headed a three county grass-roots social service endeavor.
Prior to his coming to St John’s Bread and Life, Mr. Butler was the Associate Executive Director at Brooklyn Community Housing and Services (BCHS). BCHS is a multi-service housing agency serving homeless, the mentally ill and substance abusers and is funded by State, City and Federal contracts totaling some $6,500,000. During this time he was an active affordable housing advocate chairing the Technology Committee for the Council on Homeless Policies and Services; was co-chair of the HMIS (Homeless Management information System) Group of the Continuum of Care Coalition. Mr. Butler has been active in homeless issues for the past twenty years particularly as they relate to technology’s affect on services and housing. He was part of a project with OTDA, Center for Technology and Government and Oracle that designed a data collection system to count New York State’s homeless individuals.
In June of 2005 Mr. Butler took the position as Executive Director at St. John’s Bread and Life. During his tenure there he has worked to meet the growing need of emergency food in the community, provide those services with the greatest dignity and develop strategies to reduce individuals and families need for emergency food. In June of 2008 Bread and Life moved into a new $8,000,000 state-of-the-art facility; featuring expanded space, a digital choice food pantry, medical offices, a library, a non-denominational chapel, classroom, demonstration kitchen, and proper space to meet the increased demand of Bread and Life’s guest, fully paperless data collection, and swipe card system for hot meals. This new facility, while providing an efficient and dignified service area, allows Bread and Life to further work to reduce the need of guests for Emergency Food. In 2010 the construction campaign was completed with the new building being fully paid for.
During this time Mr Butler also moved the oversight of the Bread and Life from the Diocese of Brooklyn to St John’s University. Through this partnership with the University, Bread and Life has been able to bring the resources of the University to bear on its services. It has increased the number of student volunteers, brought the academic resources of the university in service of Bread and Life’s guests. Most recently Bread and Life has partnered with the University in its unique Ozanam Scholars project that works to have students involved in service learning that benefit their course of study.
Through out this Bread and Life has grown to a $3,000,000 annual budget and has served over 1,000,000 meals annually. As part of Bread and Life’s commitment to providing nutritious food, it has grown its partnership with the sustainable food community. Over the past two years Bread and Life has brought over $200,000 worth of sustainably grown New York State products into the community. It continues to partner with the Brooklyn and New York food community to address the issues of Hunger and poverty.
Mr Butler is a regular lecturer and guest on various venues. He was recently interviewed by WNBC regarding Bread and Life’s unique Mobile Soup Kitchen. Mr Butler has been featured on the Huffington Post. He is also featured in the award winning documentary “Our Daily Bread”. Recently Mr. Butler participated with CAPP-USA, a pontifical institute dedicated to promulgating the Catholic social teaching, on a piece entitled “See Judge and Act”