For anyone that calls Baltimore City home, the last 24 hours of riots and violence have been heartbreaking. Last week’s peaceful protests in response to Freddie Gray’s death devolved into something entirely different.
However, in true Baltimore spirit, small businesses, nonprofits, politicians, members of the religious community, and residents alike have been resolute. Cleanup efforts are already taking place and discounts for police and city children are being offered. If anything positive can come out of yesterday, we’ve attempted to round it up below.
• Starting at 10 a.m. this morning, various coalitions (organized by this Facebook group) have been hosting cleanup efforts in the most devastated parts of the city. Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle are meeting at Pennsylvania and North Avenues to start cleanup at 10 a.m., Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in McElderry Park is asking people to meet at 10 a.m. with gloves and trashbags and they will be leading a peace walk at 5:30 p.m. No Boundaries Coalition is gathering at 10 a.m. today at St. Peter Claver Church at 1526 N. Fremont Avenue.
• Maritime nonprofit Living Classrooms and its group Project SERVE (which cleans more than 4,000 properties and alleyways in the city) is gathering at 10 a.m. at the Frederick Douglass-Issac Myers Maritime Park to work together to clean up East Baltimore. They are asking that volunteers bring work gloves, brooms, rakes, shovels, and trash bags.
• Bagby Restaurant Group has tweeted that its Harbor East pizza shop and Towson-based Cunningham’s will offer free meals for police officers, firefighters, and members of the National Guard. Similarly, Blue Moon Cafe is open this morning and is offering free coffee for police, National Guard, fire, and emergency personnel. Family Meal in the Inner Harbor will also be offering free lunch and dinner to uniformed public safety officers today.
• Additional restaurants offering free meals to public safety officers today include: Ammici’s, Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, Bandiots, Ropewalk Tavern, Mother’s Grille, Hyatt Regency Baltimore, Ryleigh’s Oyster, Kooper’s Chowhound, and Slainte on Wheels. See this press release sent by the Restaurant Association of Maryland for more details.
• Red Emma’s in Station North tweeted that they are a “safe space” for city school kids today (whose school day has been canceled by the city) and are offering them free lunches starting at 11 a.m.
• The hashtag #BaltimoreLunch is trending on social media now and various groups are making a consolidated effort to make sure that city school kids get fed today, considering most of them are on free or reduced lunch programs. The nonprofit Help or Hush is one group taking donations for this cause.
• The Contemporary is working with Area 405 and the Baltimore Design School to provide activities and meals to young people due to school closures. The organizations will ban together at 405 E. Oliver Street until 5 p.m. (or later if needed). The organization is also providing art supplies, screening movies, and orchestration outdoor activities.
• The White Marsh Volunteer Fire Department is taking donations to be given to the overwhelmed Baltimore police and fire personnel, which includes snacks, gum, and hand wipes.
• Councilman Nick J. Mosby and Pastor Jamal H. Bryant are calling for city youth to meet at The Empowerment Temple today to gather and be “ready to drive change.” Mosby, Bryant, and hundreds of other members of the religious and political sphere broke out in a peaceful march yesterday evening to try and quell the chaos of the riots.
• No Boundaries Coalition will also be hosting a community meeting in Sandtown at Gilmore Elementary School at 6 p.m. tonight, where food and childcare will be provided. The group wants to hear from the residents of Sandtown about safety, jobs, and police accountability in their neighborhood.
• There will be a vigil held tonight at the pagoda in Patterson Park, starting at 6 p.m. with a group prayer to take place at 7 p.m. All residents, no matter your religious affiliation are invited to gather.