MFB Meets the Need at McCulloh Homes
As stores begin to reopen and Baltimore returns to a fragile normalcy following last week’s unrest, the Maryland Food Bank stopped at one of the largest food-insecure communities in the city—McCulloh Homes Housing Project—to give families 20,000 pounds of fresh produce, staple foods, and paper products. The massive food distribution is one that the food bank intends to continue on a regular basis, year-round.
Despite the 20,000 pounds of food it carried, the Maryland Food Bank’s tractor trailer looked small against the 16-story towers of the McCulloh Homes Housing Project in West Baltimore, which is home to more than 950 families and an estimated 1,000 food-insecure people.
“The obstacles to food for most of the people in this housing—public housing—is that they only get $16 from food stamps,” said Linda Dale Stewart, service coordinator at McCulloh Homes. “And now the supermarket is there, but Save-A-Lot doesn’t sell everything. You get what you get.”
The Maryland Food Bank’s 20,000-pound distribution was a welcome event for the community, and people began forming a line within 15 minutes of the truck pulling up. Among the residents at McCulloh, nearly a dozen had volunteered their time to set up the distribution space. James Hill, president of the McCulloh Homes resident council, was leading the effort.
“The food is an issue, because at one point we didn’t even have a grocery store. And at that time the only store we had was the corner store, where they charge $1 for one onion,” Hill explained.
Hill said that he had led the petition to build the Save-A-Lot for the community down the street, but even then he knew that many of the residents struggled to put food on the table.
“I’ve been on both sides, so I know what this community is going through,” he said. “It ain’t easy.”
As the line grew outside of the distribution area, a handful of clients offered to help MFB’s driver, Roy, load the truck.
“We really appreciate what you’re doing for us,” said Monica, a young woman. “If you ever need help with anything, I’d be happy to volunteer.”
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