For the first time since COVID-19 began, neighbors with food insecurity will be able to once again sit down in dining rooms for their meals at Our Daily Bread Employment Center, My Brother’s Keeper and My Sister’s Place Women’s Shelter.
All three locations for meal service have switched from the all-grab-and-go model that started at the onset of COVID-19 to a hybrid model. That means those individuals who feel comfortable can eat their meal at a table – the way Catholic Charities programs always served meals before the pandemic.
“It’s not just about the service, it’s about this human connection,” said My Sister’s Place Women’s Center Operations Manager Martin Potter. “We haven’t seen some of our clients in over a year. We are excited to get those bonds back, that sense of a family community, because that’s what we are, a family. Our clients come to us for nourishments but they’re also coming for the conversation. That’s the highlight for me.”
“This work is relational work,” said Manager of Client Employment Services Kevin Creamer. “To see the clients who have come to the program for years greeting each other with joy on their faces—it’s why a lot of people do this work. It’s transformative for everyone.”
- Our Daily Bread’s lunch service at its Fallsway location will run Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and grab-and-go only on weekends at the same hours.
- My Brother’s Keeper in the Irvington community of West Baltimore will start by serving lunches from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on May 24, 26 and 28. On May 31, lunch service to shift to a regular schedule of Tuesdays and Wednesdays at those hours.
- On Cathedral St., My Sister’s Place Women’s Center is serving lunch all week from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and dinners all week from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
More than what’s on the menu
Everyone is excited about the hybrid meal service, but clients can receive much more. Our Daily Bread Employment Center will begin hosting its partner, Healthcare for the Homeless on May 18, so neighbors experiencing homelessness can receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Clients at Our Daily Bread Employment Center are also welcome to make appointments for job placement and training, screenings for SNAP benefit eligibility, and more.
“We are excited to get back into those personal relationships with the clients,” said Creamer. “The pandemic has highlighted a lot of access issues for our clients. Remote work is dependent on technology, but most of our clients can’t rely on technology to get service at a distance due to their situations. We are able to serve everyone better close-up.”
My Brother’s Keeper continues to serve clients for mental and behavioral health at its on-site medical clinic, while also offering job readiness and skills training. My Sister’s Place Women’s Shelter clients can access showers (with social-distancing protocols), laundry services, eviction prevention, and substance treatment services.
“It has been exciting to see the clients and hear the various updates in their lives,” said My Sister’s Place Volunteer Manager Julie Martin. “The pandemic has been tough but we are focused on the safety of our clients while still promoting a sense of community. We missed them.”