The wintry weather that hit Maryland Nov. 15, didn’t stop more than 30 volunteers from the City of Refuge Baltimore from assembling and distributing hundreds of Thanksgiving baskets.
Volunteers braved the elements to create packages with items that are typically found in traditional Thanksgiving meals for area residents. Along with those who live in the immediate community, the baskets were also picked up by families who reside in Curtis Bay, Brooklyn Park, Glen Burnie and other parts of Northern Anne Arundel County.
In two-and-a-half hours, the workers filled 568 baskets with turkeys, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, dessert and other turkey day fare, all in an effort to make Thanksgiving dinner possible for those who may not have it otherwise.
“There’s something traditional, yet incredibly valuable and important to come together around a meal with family and Thanksgiving is just kind of that holiday I think more than any,” said Billy Humphrey, executive director of City of Refuge Baltimore. “For us, it’s that little bit of hope, it’s that little bit of dignity that, ‘Hey, I had a Thanksgiving meal, too.’”
The food for the baskets was provided by the Maryland Food Bank, as part of its Pack to Give Back initiative, the Port Covington Impact Team and the United Way of Central Maryland.
Over the course of two days, the nonprofit distributed baskets to community members in need, as well as some who were directed to the group through the United Way of Central Maryland’s 2-1-1 Help Line. City of Refuge Baltimore also donated baskets to other organizations, including the Spanish ministry at Heritage Community Church, located in Severn.
For some, like volunteer and basket recipient Dion DeVaughn, a Thanksgiving meal wouldn’t be possible without the church’s help.
“Getting a Thanksgiving basket means a lot,” DeVaughn said. “It blessed by family because we didn’t have the funds to get a Thanksgiving dinner and (it will) bless my family and friends, who will come over and eat with us.”
For others, helping those in need during the holidays — even in a winter storm — is perhaps the most important aspect of Thanksgiving.
“That was the best part for me, knowing that people in our own community would have a happier holiday, knowing that their meal was provided for,” said Deanna Hunley, who helped prepare and distribute the baskets. “It made the hard work in the winter weather completely worth it.”
Along with distributing baskets that day, City of Refuge Baltimore also prepared 200 hot meals for the community. Providing food and fellowship for the neighborhood is one of the nonprofit’s central services.
Each Friday, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., it offers a hot meal at its outreach building, at 901 Pontiac Ave. On Tuesdays, at 10 a.m., the organization provides a hot breakfast, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9-11 a.m., it offers a clothing closet and emergency baby pantry.
The organization also offers martial arts training at 6 p.m.Tuesdays and a youth program that serves and feeds kids and teens, on Wednesday nights.
New this year, the church will sponsor a “Buy a Tree” program to raise money locally and globally to children in need. From Nov. 23 to Nov. 29, trees will be available for purchase at the City Garage Parking Lot at 101 W. Dickman Street in Baltimore.
All of the money raised will help the church’s youth program, as well as the global nonprofit, People for Care and Learning.
For more information, visit www.cityofrefugebaltimore.org/.
The Arundel Neighborhoods Association will meet Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Brooklyn Park Community Library, 1 E. 11th Ave. A representative from the Department of Public Works and the Postmaster General will speak at the meeting. Visit www.ananow.org/ for more information.
Email your North County news from Brooklyn Park, Pumphrey and Linthicum to Heather Vecchioni at firstname.lastname@example.org.