An Aug. 23 fundraiser to benefit Catonsville victims of devastating floods that struck the area in late May attracted community members from all walks of life and brought in around $15,000, organizers said.
The Knights of Columbus Patapsco Council No. 1960 and the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce partnered to host the “Taste of the 21228,” a fundraiser for area businesses, employees and residents affected by the flooding in Catonsville.
Catonsville, Oella and Ellicott City were devastated by flooding on May 27, when around 10 inches of rain fell in less than two hours. Basements were flooded, roads were washed out and one man, Staff Sgt. Eddison Hermond Jr. of the Maryland National Guard, died in Ellicott City.
Joe Poisal, president of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, said the event brought out about 160 people, adding that it was “very endearing, knowing that the Catonsville community wants to come together.”
The people who donated time or money to the cause were “a lot of the same faces that you see at Frederick Road Fridays, and people you went to school with and neighbors,” Poisal said. “That’s just the way Catonsville is.”
The event, at $50 a ticket, featured live music, drinks and food donated by area restaurants Catonsville Gourmet, Dimitri’s International Grille, Chef Paolino Cafe, Franco's Italian Bistro, Black Kettle Restaurant, Scittino’s Italian Market Place, Farmhouse Greens, Subway, G.L. Shack’s, Duesenberg’s American Cafe and Grill, Pat’s Porch, Edible Arrangements, Passanante’s Home Food Services and Kelsey’s Restaurant, organizers said.
The home of Dan and Kay Broadwater was the only house in Baltimore County to be declared "unsafe" by county authorities after Sunday's heavy rains caused flooding throughout Baltimore and Howard counties.
The collected money went to the chamber, which will be writing and disbursing checks to flood victims. Poisal said the chamber hopes to have the money disbursed “within 30 days.”
“I thought it was very important that we do something for the residents, and that would go beyond what the county has done,” Poisal said. As an example, he said Baltimore County couldn’t “reimburse workers that lost time and lost their vehicles.”
Organizers said the Knights of Columbus building at 1010 Frederick Road was chosen for the venue in part because the local council has had years of experience pulling permits and organizing for large-scale events.
“All our events are really fundraisers, we’re set up well to do it,” said Stephen Schwing, community director of the local council. “This just shows that the real church is the people, the community, that are still vibrant and doing our service to God.”
Preservation Maryland is also concerned demolishing buildings in Ellicott City could lead to the town’s removal from the National Register of Historic Places, thereby limiting tax credits and other incentives available for the community.
In Catonsville, some shops lost inventory, county crews pumped water out of more than 400 basements, and one home was temporarily deemed unsafe for occupation.
In Howard County, officials announced on Aug. 23 a plan to tear down 19 historic buildings in Ellicott City and expand a river channel to mitigate future flooding in the historic town, which has had two major floods in two years.
Baltimore County officials, including representatives from the Department of Public Works and County Councilman Tom Quirk, are holding a public meeting in mid-October to provide the latest information on the condition of Catonsville’s Thistle and River roads, which still remain damaged or partially closed.
The Knights council’s Schwing said, “There’s no reason we can’t turn this into an annual thing. Whether it’s supporting flood victims or [a] homeless shelter.”