The Baltimore Station was founded by a small, devoted group of volunteers 31 years ago. They worked tirelessly to provide food and shelter for the homeless in the South Baltimore community. Over the years the organization has developed to what it is today, a residential treatment and community-based program that guides homeless veterans and others to be self-sufficient and live sober, healthy lives. But what hasn’t changed is the continued support from volunteers. Our volunteers provide us with the essentials we need to run a successful program. These essentials include food, clothing, therapeutic activities, hygiene products, comradery, and encouragement.
On March 13, 2020, The Baltimore Station had to suspend volunteer services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, volunteers were no longer able to provide food and serve healthy meals or spend time talking with the residents or doing in-person activities. However, we stayed in constant contact with our dedicated partners, who have been so generous by providing the men with activities to keep them occupied during this difficult time. We have also been able to provide some therapeutic activities via Zoom so the men can stay connected to their support and programming.
We are slowly and cautiously integrating volunteer services back into the program. We kicked it off by hosting a Parade of Support on June 18, 2020. To help our dedicated volunteers stay engaged with our residents and allow them to see and interact safely with them, we had 9 volunteer groups who came from as far as Pennsylvania participate in the parade. They decorated their cars, made signs, and flew American flags in support of our veterans. They briefly stopped, shared words of encouragement, and expressed how much they missed seeing the men each month. The staff and residents waved and thanked them for their kindness and support. It really meant a lot for the men to see how much people care about them and want to walk alongside of them during their recovery. Many of the groups also dropped off food donations. The Maryland Multi-Housing Association (MMHA), who is a long-time supporter of The Baltimore Station, presented a check for $1,000.
These acts of kindness truly go a long way in making The Baltimore Station a successful program. We could not do it without the support from our greater community. We would like to thank Back On My Feet, Exelon Militaries Actively Connected (EMAC) from BGE, Carpet Consultants, Element Fleet, M&T Bank, MMHA, Friends of The Baltimore Station, Friends School, and The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) for taking the time to participate in our Parade of Support and honor our residents and staff. We look forward to inviting them and all of the other volunteer groups that support us back into our facility over the coming months.