Part Two in a Six Part Blog Series on how YOU can ACT in BALTIMORE.
One of the most heartbreaking scenes this week was watching a neighborhood store that hard-working people relied upon go up in flames. This store was a source of food, medicine, and household and school supplies for the residents. Gone. The store was, in fact, a symbol of a neighborhood, though having limited resources perhaps, which was sustaining itself. Residents had the economic ability to purchase (Economics 101 tells us that stores don’t stay around if no one is shopping in them). Purchase-ability, in many ways, is a by-product of empowerment. Purchase-ability means income. Needing household supplies means you have a home to go to at night. Needing school supplies means someone is educating him or herself.
We forget sometimes that Baltimore City has worked hard to lessen the food desert phenomenon. Honestly, the City has pockets that are food deserts still, regardless of the unrest last week. Many of us have resources at our fingertips, just a short walk or car ride away. That is rarely the case for most Baltimore City neighborhoods, unrest or not.
But at My Sister’s Place Women’s Center, a Catholic Charities operation located in the heart of the City, there is no food desert. There are healthy food options for women and children in need. But that’s not all.
My Sister’s Place Women’s Center provides 3 meals a day
and access to services such as case management, education, and job training
to women (and their children) in Baltimore City.
Feeding people physically is important; feeding people educationally, spiritually, and emotionally is equally important. My Sister’s Place offers case management and services in a holistic manner. It views the woman or the child that it serves as a whole person, providing:
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Education and life skills training
- Housing assistance
- Benefits advice and enrollment
- Case management
- Emergency financial assistance
- Linkages to other community providers (mental health and addiction services)
- Financial literacy services
- Personal services (e.g., shower and laundry facilities, mail and telephone access, etc.)
- Day room with comfortable seating, a fireplace, and television
- Three large classrooms for workshops
- An enclosed play area for children
A 2014 impact report revealed that My Sister’s Place, in a six month time frame, served over 76,000 meals, assisted 80 people in obtaining health insurance, provided 56 housing placements for women and their children, and placed 19 women in employment. That’s impressive. That’s holistic. That’s what we need to see more of.
My favorite thing? The word “My.” The people served at My Sister’s Place are indeed my sisters. They are your sisters. There is a place for your sister. The sister who is out of work because her employer’s building burned down. The sister who needs a source of food for herself and her children. The sister who longs to break out of a cycle of poverty or addiction.
She’s your sister.
To donate to My Sister’s Place, click here.
To volunteer at My Sister’s Place, click here.
I haven’t forgotten the men! Stay tuned for the next post about a great organization empowering young men and boys in our City. I will also feature great organizations empowering: Baltimore City school-aged girls; Baltimore City veterans transitioning through homelessness, poverty and addiction; and Baltimore City children who are victims of human sex trafficking.