The coronavirus pandemic has shone an even brighter light on the needs of the less fortunate, and the nonprofit Francis- can Center has made adjustments to keep free meals available to all in need.
Since March 16, 2020, the organization has created and served more than 200,000 meals as team members have traveled around Baltimore to check on many individuals in homeless encamp- ments to ensure they, too, are fed.
“We now have worked 40 community organizations to distribute food to our neighbors in need throughout Baltimore City and some parts of Baltimore County,” said Jeffrey Griffin, the execu- tive director of the Franciscan Center.
The mission of the Franciscan Center is to provide emergency assistance and sup- portive outreach to persons who are economically disadvantaged to assist them in realizing their self-worth and dignity.
The center counts as the second largest community kitchen in the state. In 2019, the center served 116,000 hot, fresh, and healthy meals, and each year they give out 6,600 emergency pantry bags while social workers at the center assisted about 4,600 families.
“COVID 19 continues to leave us in limbo. We will continue to serve all of our meals outside in a Grab and Go style. Our Social Workers are working outside as well, and we are planning to start opening our inside activities on September 1, but that could easily change to October 1,” Griffin said.
He added that Danielle Adams, the principal of Dallas Nichols Elementary School, has worked closely with the center to ensure that every child is pre- pared for instruction.
“Twenty-four percent of students at Dallas Nichols Elementary School are homeless,” Griffin said. “We are work- ing together to make sure that every one of those families has meals while the children are not in school.”
Griffin noted that the Franciscan Center also is working to find a partner who can help install Wi-Fi towers atop the center. “This would allow the whole area to have access to Wi-Fi,” Griffin said, adding that he’s hoping that a foundation or company will assist.
“We can do a fundraiser for it as well,” he said.
For more information about the Franciscan Center, or to donate funds or time, visit www.fcbmore.org.