Johns Hopkins University has launched the East Baltimore COVID-19 Food Access Initiative, a partnership between JHU, Saval Foodservice, Hungry Harvest, and 16 faith-based and community organizations to provide emergency food assistance to families impacted by COVID-19.
"In this moment of profound challenge, far too many of the burdens of COVID-19 are being borne by the most vulnerable members of our communities," says Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels. "Working with BUILD and other faith and community groups to ensure our neighbors have the sustenance they need reflects our university's mission and our deeply held belief that we are all in this together."
With support from the Hackerman family, Johns Hopkins and its partners established this 16-week, $1.7 million emergency food distribution effort to help those communities in East Baltimore hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Saval Foodservice and Hungry Harvest will deliver shelf-stable groceries and fresh produce to six central sites in East Baltimore. The sites will then work with the 16 partner organizations to distribute the food to the community.
"This effort demonstrates what can happen when Johns Hopkins University, BUILD, and other faith and community leaders work together," says Bishop Douglas Miles, BUILD co-chair. "This can be a model for how corporate Baltimore can unite with the faith community and neighborhoods across Baltimore to recover from this pandemic."
Community partners are:
- Amazing Grace Church
- Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development (BUILD)
- Bea Gaddy Family Center
- Caring Active Restoring Efforts (CARE)
- Centro Sol
- First Apostolic Church
- First Baptist Church
- Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition
- Koinonia Baptist Church
- Men and Families Center
- Mt. Sinai Baptist Church
- Sacred Heart of Jesus Church
- Sisters Together and Reaching (STAR)
- The Door
- The Mix Church
- Zion Baptist Church
"Access to healthy food, especially at a time like this, should be a right, not a privilege. Making that a reality is fundamental to our mission, and we are thankful for our partnership with Johns Hopkins as together we make huge strides in ensuring food security in East Baltimore," says Evan Lutz, Hungry Harvest chief executive officer and founder.
"Saval Foodservice is excited to partner with Johns Hopkins to help feed the community during these challenging times," adds Brian Saval, vice president of Saval Foodservice.
Each food delivery will serve 2,000 families, approximately 6,000 individuals, each week for 16 weeks. Individuals served by this effort must be food insecure and lacking access to existing public or private food assistance resources. Priority will be given to those individuals at higher risk for more severe COVID-19 complications.
"This initiative is a blessing and is going to help us provide for hundreds of people each week," says Cynthia Brooks, executive director of the Bea Gaddy Family Center.