The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Baltimore

“You have thousands and thousands abandoned houses. I don’t know if it’s that easy and maybe it’s not for me to say, but things can be done for our communities. Something has to be done, because our kids are our future. You want to build safe environments for kids. Kids have nowhere to play, so they’re running in abandoned houses. They’re getting hurt. Do something for these children. That’s what I want you to see. I don’t know if I’ll make a change of it, but guess what? I think my voice will be heard.”

"This is our development. It's not in a very good neighborhood, but everyone sticks together. Everyone's trying to make it. It's just a high-poverty neighborhood where everyone knows everyone. Our court captain, she always says that just because we live in the projects, we don't have to treat it like the projects. She tries to keep the court up to date and clean. She has a little committee where they plant flowers, and she tells you where to go to get free food, things like that."

“He was born premature. He was born drug exposed so he came into this world with a lot of downfalls. Once he came into good care, myself being his father, I’ve been trying to teach him that even though you came into this world messed up, your body was messed up, and your mind was kind of screwed up too, I’ve got you, with the grace of God helping us.”

“We used to have a recreational center, and after the kids would get off of school the police officers would watch over the children. They don’t have it anymore. They shut it down. You notice there are more kids on the street, more kids who don’t have anywhere else to go. If you open the recreation centers up right after school, the parents might still be able to work. That’s what I did until my mother got off work. My mom couldn’t afford camps so I had to do everything that was free.

“That’s the director of foster care and social services in Baltimore, Maryland. She and I became close as time went on as I was caring for my son, little Lamont. Ms. Molly McGrath has been a great asset to my life and she has been an addition to my family. When I went through some difficulties because of my sexuality, this beautiful director and friend supported me and taught me about my love, dedication, and my motivation towards my child."

“We have all these houses. Why can’t we fix up these houses? Our homeless rate would go down. The Section 8 list, the housing list, would not be ten thousand strong. I got my housing letter. I’m actually ninety-five hundred eighty-four on the waiting list. That’s where I am. Why I am nine thousand something and there are all these houses in Baltimore city that are vacant, not just in this area but throughout the whole city? Why can’t we go and fix these houses up?”

“My daughter has a lot of disabilities … I’m trying to get used to a lot of things with her. She’s three. She has adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, she’s a diabetic, and she also has lack of a growth hormone. Within the last three months she’s been placed on about seven different medications. This is her growth hormone medication and it comes in this. It’s four hundred and fifty dollars and I have to get it delivered every three weeks. I don’t have four hundred and fifty dollars.

"That’s Shaykia, she's my fourteen year old. She helps out a lot with her baby sister. That’s her school, and this is the school’s playground. I thought the playground was only supposed to be for the children to go and play.  But on the playground there were drug needles, people smoking marijuana and stuff.  So where do we take our small children to go and play?  There’s nowhere that we can take children to go play without being exposed to a lot of that stuff."

“I’ve got to pay my rent.  I’ve got to pay gas and electric.  I’ve got to take care of the kids.  I’ve got to make sure there’s food in the house, you know, make sure they got clothes, make sure they got shoes, and make sure I got bus fare to even get to work.  Trying to struggle and juggle all of that on one income that’s coming in the house is extremely hard. It’s extremely hard because I would like to do more for my girls give them everything, of course every parent would.  Every parent would want to do more.

“I filed for disability for my daughter and of course that takes at least four to six months to even go through.  So once I do that, then a lot of things will change.  They will take my food stamps away so it’s like I can’t win.  They give me the help with her, but at the same time they’re taking food out of my house because I have extra income, because they think that I have more because there’s more money coming in that I don’t need—my food stamps, as much as they give me, which is nowhere near true.”

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