August 8, 2019 | From IFA Staff
[When the problem in Baltimore was cast in the public spotlight with national political bantering, the main people suffering were the Baltimore residents who have seen decades of decay, a divided and antagonistic relationship with law enforcement, and eroding hope. Baltimore doesn’t need political one-upmanship, but concrete answers. Conservative activist, Scott Presler, brought in 170 volunteers to pick up 12 tons of trash from the inner-city neighborhoods as a solution-oriented and people-loving gesture from fellow Americans. Presler was moved to do something tangible after the pictures surfaced of rat-infested homes in Baltimore neighborhoods–he found it easy to gather a substantial group to help him. That was a blessing to many residents who saw the grass-roots clean-up day as a concrete way for fellow Americans to care. Now, there are more private-sector outreaches to Baltimore, bringing help and some much-needed hope. Following is one such effort from Somebody Cares America.]
Baltimore is caught in the crossfire of political and social media banter this week, but Somebody Cares Baltimore continues to bring hope and connect people to much-needed resources, as it has done for the past 10 years in collaboration with churches, businesses, and BPD.
“Regardless of political bantering, there are churches and ministries who are serving their community under the radar and having a positive impact for the city and its residents,” says Doug Stringer, Founder, and President of Somebody Cares America.
On August 10, the Somebody Cares Baltimore (SCB) chapter will host a Day of Hope event at Frederick Douglass High School.
“Days of Hope are community events designed to meet both human and spiritual needs of our residents,” says SC Baltimore Director, Matt Stevens. “It is an all-out lavishing and saturating of communities with prayer and acts of kindness.”
Days of Hope events have mobilized thousands throughout the years to serve 20,000+ residents in 14 Baltimore neighborhoods. In a festival atmosphere with music, food, and prize giveaways, kids play games and enjoy moon-bounces while adults receive free groceries and visit service providers. They can get their blood pressure checked, learn how to avoid foreclosure, and receive information on programs that help set them up for success. Free backpacks and haircuts are offered to help families get ready for school. A prayer tent is manned by local churches.
Somebody Cares Baltimore also coordinates other projects that serve thousands of people:
- ServeFest: A day when churches invest in their own neighborhoods by completing service projects together.
- Code Blue: SCB visits a shelter at Christmas to serve brunch, sing carols, and give out Bags of Hope, filled with toiletries.
- Crisis Response: During the riots following the death of Freddie Gray, SCB helped coordinate volunteers to clean up from the evening’s damages and to love on people.
- Other initiatives: foster care, at-risk teens, addiction, crisis preparedness.
Somebody Cares America is a network committed to community transformation through prayer, compassion outreach, leadership development, and disaster relief. Visit SomebodyCares.org if you are interested in helping or participating.