(Baltimore, Aug. 30, 2019) “What do we want?” called Corey Winfield, the Brooklyn-Curtis Bay Safe Streets Site Director, as he opened the back to school supply giveaway with a call and response chant. The crowd of parents and distracted children mumbled, “safe streets.” Winfield paused, stepped forward toward the crowd and emphatically spoke into the microphone, “Ok people, answer as if really you mean it! WHAT DO WE WANT?!” The crowd awoke and enthusiastically called back again and again, “SAFE STREETS! SAFE STREETS! SAFE STREETS!”
Hundreds of children with their parents and guardians gathered at the Brooklyn Boys and Girls Club, in southwest Baltimore to receive essential school supplies and sneakers. The first 100 children received a classic backpack full of notebooks, folders, pens, pencils and more and were able to receive a new pair of sneakers that were purchased by Safe Streets. An additional 100 children received pull-string backpacks also filled with school supplies. Younger children received puzzles and games.
The crowd arrived an hour-and-half before the school supply distribution which began at 4:30 p.m. They stayed in the park for hours enjoying sodas, juice and hot dogs, turkey and veggie burgers that were hot off a grill manned by Safe Streets, while smaller children played in the park that overlooks Baltimore’s Harbor.
“People!,” called Winfield. Take whatever food or drink you need.” He added,” come by whenever you need help. We’re here for you at 423 East Patapsco.”
The Brooklyn-Curtis Bay site opened in June 2019. It is Catholic Charities’ second Safe Streets site. The first site is located at St. Peter Claver Church in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester. That site opened in 2015 following the unrest related to the death of Freddie Gray.