Local organization distributes 6 million+ meals to East Baltimore residents
‘The Door’ helping East Baltimore families in need
By: KENDALL GREEN
BALTIMORE — Since the pandemic, under-served families across East Baltimore struggled with food insecurity due to financial hardship but the Baltimore Urban Leadership foundation, known as The Door has been working in the shadows to assure folks they’re not in this alone.
Ronald Carter is one of hundreds who visit The Door to pick up free food every week.
He’s a Baltimore resident on a fixed income with limited resources.
He tells us not having to drain dollars on his next meal lightens his load quite a bit.
“It keeps my budget down,” Carter said.
For the last year The Door has served as a free food distribution hub for several other local nonprofits with aligned missions.
Around 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, box by box, volunteers spend time giving their neighbors a hand up.
One box normally feeds a family of 2 to 4 for about a week and The Door distributes about 900 of them weekly.
Partnering organizers like The Men and Families Center notice the food boxes often go further than just one family.
“They come every week because they have the need and now they come and have two other family members to give the food to so it passes on,” said the center’s executive director, Leon Purnell.
Michael Preston, the director of Community affairs at Johns Hopkins tells us addressing food insecurity during the pandemic was one of the hospital’s and school’s top priorities when developing partnerships amid the pandemic.
“So we attacked food in late April of last year and since then with the door we’ve been able to distribute more than 6 million meals to east Baltimore residents,” Preston said.
That million meal mark is due in part to volunteers like Jessea Gabbin who takes it upon herself to expand the mission.
“I’m actually here at the door to take some produce to items so that I can take them to some of the residents in Baltimore city who are housebound and living in senior buildings around the area so I’ll drop them off and help distribute some of the items to the residents.”
It’s a small gesture that goes a long way.
“This is a hard time for everyone so every little bit counts every effort you can give to make someone comfortable safer or healthier or taking away one of the worries they have, it gets me going it keeps me going just to help other people,” said Tehma Smith Wilson with The Door.
“In the box is everything you need to keep your immune system ramped up. Its bigger than just a box,” added Ms. Gabbin.
The Door is located in the 219N Chester Street in Baltimore and open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Johns Hopkins’ East Baltimore COVID-19 Food Access Initiative Marks 2 Million Meals Distributed
By Amy KawataSeptember 14, 2020 at 5:06 pm
Filed Under:Baltimore, Baltimore News, Coronavirus Outbreak In Maryland: WJZ Complete Coverage, COVID-19, East Baltimore COVID-19 Food Access Initiative, Good News: Something To Smile About, Johns Hopkins University, Local TV, Talkers
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A program created to help Baltimoreans amid the coronavirus pandemic is marking a milestone: more than two million meals distributed to those in need.
Over the past five months, more than two million meals have been given out to thousands of east Baltimore residents thanks to the effort led by Johns Hopkins University.
“On a weekly basis, that equates to about 6,000 families receiving meals that could last them over the course of two weeks,” Alicia Wilson with Johns Hopkins University said.
The effort is called the East Baltimore COVID-19 Food Access Initiative. Baltimore Urban Leadership Foundation is one of the 20 non-profit organizations partnering with Hopkins to make sure families affected by the pandemic receive meals.
“They get fresh fruits and vegetables, that serves about two to four, gives them lunch and dinner for seven days,” Tehma Smith Wilson with the foundation said.
City leaders commend the initiative’s efforts during these tough times.
“It means a lot to people here in east Baltimore that probably even before COVID, wasn’t really getting a good meal, this is a great meal for them,” councilman Robert Stokes said.
The initiative has been so well-received in the community it has been extended from a 16-week run to 20 weeks.
“People have been extremely grateful,” Smith Wilson said. “A lot of them said they don’t know what they would do if they didn’t have this resource to help them.”
Week after week, volunteers were committed to serving the community. Organizers said it’s a prime example showing how coming together makes all the difference.
That’s why Johns Hopkins is making sure a simple message of thanks to the volunteers and non-profits involved is heard.
“Without one without the other, I don’t think it would work, it really does take us all doing things together,” Wilson said.
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