The pandemic has certainly created hardships and challenges over the past few months, but amidst that, there have also been new partnerships and people coming together to help those in need. To comply with social distancing and protect the vulnerable in our community, the Community Health Department at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center began cancelling group programs mid-March. We quickly shifted our focus and funding to weekend food security for children. As we reached out to our school partners to put a plan in place, one name kept coming up: Baltimore Hunger Project (BHP).

A silver lining of the pandemic has been joining the community feeding team and working alongside organizations like BHP. BHP has been fighting food insecurity in Baltimore for years and could direct us to the greatest needs among the 24 elementary schools they work with year-round. With their help, we have donated and distributed over 4,700 subs and 6,000 pounds of produce across three elementary schools in the past 14 weeks. This is just a small part of their awe-inspiring operation which secures non-perishables, bread, books and so much more, benefiting 2,300 students a week.

You only have to spend a few minutes in the BHP warehouse or onsite at one of the food distributions to get a sense of the teamwork and dedication to feed the children in our community. In times of stress and uncertainty for so many families, we were fortunate to be a consistent source of support every Friday through the end of the school year. BHP provides much more than food to those they are serving. The wonderful volunteers, many connected to the school system, offer smiles you can see behind the masks and words of encouragement to both parents and children as they fill cars and arms with nutritious staples. We are grateful to be one of many partners in the efforts directed by BHP.

 

Keep up the great work BHP! We look forward to continued partnership.

 

Kristen Artes

Community Outreach Manger at UM St. Joseph Medical Center