Leading by Example
According to the Maryland Food Bank, 1 in 4 Marylanders face food insecurity (hunger, lack of access to food stores, insufficient local food supply), despite the fact that Maryland is one of the nation’s wealthiest states and despite the fact that there are many organizations working in Maryland and Baltimore City to ease this crisis. It is just never enough because persistent poverty is the underlying cause of hunger.
We know firsthand that some of our Baltimore City Truancy Court Program students come to school hungry and sometimes miss the free school breakfast for which almost all Baltimore City Public School students qualify. That is why our staff members often have a stash of power bars ready during the morning TCP sessions to hold that hunger down until lunch.
Twice a year, however, we want to do more than that. We want to take care of our own. Since 2012, CFCC has raised additional funds – mostly through small donations from the University of Baltimore community – to supply each TCP student’s family with a full holiday meal at Thanksgiving and the winter holiday, when we can raise sufficient funds. Over the years, we have raised more than $18,000 to fund the holiday food baskets.
The first social worker, Eliseba Osore, suggested the holiday food drive concept. She went on to found ShareBaby, Inc., a baby pantry nonprofit serving Baltimore City and Baltimore County, and the TCP Team has she has supported her enthusiastically since.
“I came up with the idea to fundraise for and create Thanksgiving baskets for our TCP families because I saw that one major barrier that our students were facing was lack of material items. After weeks of hearing from students about not having coats, or uniforms, or umbrellas, in our TCP sessions, I felt that it was my duty to understand the varying needs of our families and shed light on them to the rest of the team. I also knew that our TCP Team had strong networks and that we could provide a wonderful gift to our families during the holidays. Much to my delight, the team was completely on board and eager to jump in. Each year we tweaked and improved the program to better serve families.”
The Thanksgiving basket project was easily one of my favorite parts of my job during my time at TCP. It really brought our team together to do something special and the families were so happy and grateful. I know for a fact that without our baskets, many of the families wouldn’t have had a Thanksgiving dinner that year and I am grateful that we could help alleviate that stress!”