Over the past three weeks, the state of Maryland has been overwhelmed with escalating public health concerns. In the midst of intensifying public anxiety, a local partnership has brought hope to Baltimoreans affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Night Brunch, a vibrant pop-up dining series led by Jason Bass, has partnered with Hotel Revival, a boutique inn located in Mount Vernon, to provide vital resources to numerous community members in addition to a good deal of Baltimore’s service industry workers.
Since The Night Brunch began two years ago, it has used Hotel Revival for two of its events, which was the beginning of what has been a long-standing partnership.
The prime focus of The Night Brunch is striving to create spaces and experiences through food, music, and community by uniting various sectors of Baltimore City with ‘night brunches.’
However, since the COVID-19 has virtually put the globe at a standstill, community leaders such as Bass have been forced to take alternative approaches—largely involving charitable action—to continue influencing Baltimore in a positive way.
“Once this pandemic came into place, of course our focus had to change,” said Bass, the CEO and co-founder of The Night Brunch along with Ryan Rhodes. “We had to figure out ways of how to help the people who we would normally bring together, and that’s how I was able to then pivot and bring Night Brunch back—not as an event—but a way for us to really contact the community, engage the community better.”
Since the virus has spread into Maryland, subsequently leading to thousands of Baltimoreans who have been laid off and the shutdown of several local eateries and bars, Hotel Revival has designated a segment of its first-floor bar as a donation and distribution center. Another portion of the hotel’s first floor serves as a space for pop-up restaurants and food vendors to cook and process delivery orders.
Additionally, The Night Brunch’s partners at Hungry Harvest are providing fresh produce and discounted monthly memberships for those in need. According to Bass, The Night Brunch served 500 free lunches last week, took about 250 packed lunches and produce bags to a few senior centers in East Baltimore and provided Mera Kitchen Collective with free produce as well.
The project’s giveaways and food supply drives over the past few weeks have been made possible by food donations. The Night Brunch continues to use its online platforms to solicit donations for something called the Baltimore Service Industry Fund—a charitable enterprise set up to supply food and resources to the countless individuals affected by COVID-19.
“The goal was really to provide an immediate solution to the problem of Baltimore service industry [workers] being laid off,” Bass said. “If we can keep the help of having strong partners, like the hotel and food suppliers, I think we can start to feed a few thousand people a week.”
Night Brunch hopes to host two supply drives this week, added Bass, owner of Kiss Tomorrow Hello, a local marketing agency. Since Gov. Larry Hogan has issued a stay-at-home order effective March 30, Bass said he and other collaborators will create a registration system for food pick-up as a precautionary measure.
Donte Johnson, general manager of Hotel Revival, has collaborated with Bass to continue giving the people of Baltimore a reason to celebrate something positive. The hospitality industry executive had one question in mind when he, Bass and a host of others began the initiative.
“How can we at that hotel, not so much focus on the day-to-day business of running the hotel, but focus on what are the needs and wants of our community and how can we meet those needs?,” Johnson said. “That’s been an ongoing commitment since day one here. This unfortunate circumstance just creates an environment where those needs have to be amplified, particularly for the people who might be underserved or the people who are most impacted.”
Prioritizing the needs of the people affected while providing free space for pop-up food and beverage purveyors has been the cornerstone of Johnson’s and Bass’ commitment to public servitude.
Moreover, the hotel’s rooms are being offered to provide accommodations “to people on the front lines fighting this fight,” according to Johnson.
“For us, it’s really a matter of how can we be a good neighbor, a good partner, a good support of the people who are really doing the heroic stuff that’s going to get us through this,” Johnson continued. “It’s just an opportunity for us to do what we normally do, but do it in a way that makes a huge difference.”
About the Baltimore Times #OnAPositiveNote Campaign: Amid ongoing public health concerns prompted by the spread of the coronavirus, the Baltimore Times is committed to highlighting the positive efforts of local influential figures, organizations and otherwise devoted to gathering support for initiatives prioritizing community over commerce.