Sadly, this year has been one of the most violent years in Baltimore's history. There have been 180 homicides in the city and an influx of opioid addictions and overdoses. This is not ok! We need to take back our city!! We are partnering with the Baltimore Police, Somebody Cares and other organizations to lead community walks and create Safe Havens for people within our city. We are coming together to make a presence known in the city that people care and we will overcome the darkness with light. Keep an eye out for volunteer needs either through our mailing list, on our website, Facebook, or go to Summer of Peace 17 on Facebook for more information.
In light of the tragedy in Orlando this past weekend I keep thinking about the need for hope in our world. There are so many people without hope that have given up because their need is too big, or they are searching for hope but often in the wrong places. There is so much hatred and hurting in the world, you can’t turn on the news without hearing a string of violence here in our communities and across the world. How do we change it? How do we bring hope to a situation that feels hopeless. The needs are huge, yet I am so small, and I know that I am not alone in feeling that. So what do I do? What do we do?
Employment has been a hot topic for the entire nation, but especially in Baltimore. In December, 2015 the unemployment rate dropped from 8.1% in July to 7%. This is great, but the unemployment rate in Baltimore City is still higher than the national average of 4.9%. What are the barriers causing this? What can we do to help get Baltimore employed?
This article by Dan Passerelli originally appeared Monday, May 4 on OutsideTheDoor
This time last week I was writing at my dining room table in north Baltimore, oblivious to the violence that was unfolding a few miles away in the area around Mondawmin Mall. It wasn’t until a friend texted and asked if we wanted to come stay with them that I knew something was up. We turned on the TV, and, like many in our region, watched as the ugly scenes unfolded under the watchful eye of the news helicopters. Family started calling to make sure we were safe. My kids wanted to know how long it would take the police to arrest the looters. My wife wondered how she would get to work the next day. I had more questions than answers myself: Why is this happening? What do they hope to accomplish? When will order be restored? Will anything change? Why the CVS?
That last question may seem a bit small given the scope of all that was happening, but I just couldn’t understand why CVS stores seemed to be a prime target for looters. I’ve had a week to reflect on all this, and I don’t have answers for all the questions. But I offer the following to possibly spur further discussion:
There's an exciting partnership growing between Serve the City Baltimore and The Well in Curtis Bay. By providing classes, mentorship, counseling and other resources The Well helps women get through life’s challenges. Their Hope Chest provides clothing to people in need, men’s and women’s bible studies meet weekly, and they even started a church at The Well because there was a need and desire. Each person, whether it is their first time or hundredth time through the door of The Well, is loved.
Serve the City Baltimore began sending volunteers to serve at The Well in 2014. Teams helped with The Hope Chest and distributed fliers to the community. This past summer we helped when The Well teamed up with another organization, Samaritan’s Feet, to hand out shoes to kids. When kids came in, volunteers measured and washed their feet, talked to the kids, and prayed with them. Over 350 pairs of shoes were given out that day, plus free food and games for the kids! A lot of people were still in line when the shoes ran out, so The Well took down their information and invited them back on Saturday, November 29th to give them shoes. That's opportunity #1 - we need volunteers to love these kids and help make this day a success!
Opportunity #2 is on Saturday December 13th for a Christmas store. Gifts of $10 or more will be donated, and then people can buy them for $2. Do you love to gift-wrap? Are you a budding personal shopper? Can you hold a cup of hot chocolate? Then there's a place for you to help in the Christmas Store at The Well.
I had the privilege to sit down for coffee with Miss Colleen, as she is fondly known in her neighborhood, to talk about her life and ministry. I have known Colleen for several years now, as we used to go to the same church and now God has brought us both to ministry in Baltimore City. Colleen moved from the suburbs into East Baltimore, one of the toughest parts of the city, to live life with the people in her neighborhood. She is the director of GEM ministry (Gospel, Education, Mentoring) which includes a weekly kids club for the kids, where they play games, make crafts, and are taught a lesson from the Bible. Colleen has a dinner group where she will...
Many boys in Baltimore are growing up to become men without anyone in their life showing them what it means to be a man or teaching them the responsibility of manhood. Young Life in Baltimore City connects boys with Christian men who will walk with them for a time and show them the ropes - not by being experts who impart 'man information', but by being real men who love these boys and share a bit of their life with them. They're looking for volunteers to help with Man Camp the weekend of June 6-8...
During 2014, Serve the City Baltimore will highlight a different issue facing Baltimore City each month. Staffer Erin O’Brien writes about Human Trafficking for January:
Over the holidays I was talking to some family members about Serve the City Baltimore. When I mentioned that we would be highlighting human trafficking in January, because it’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month, they were surprised. They had no idea that trafficking was a domestic issue, let alone a problem in Baltimore.