(May 16, 2019 – West Baltimore) – When you see a crowd of people gathered outside a West Baltimore house on a beautiful spring day, you know there’s a good cookout happening.

Dozens of community members, volunteers, staff and friends came together to celebrate the (almost) one-year anniversary of My Brother’s Keeper integrating with Catholic Charities at the program’s home on Frederick Ave. in the Irvington section of Baltimore Wednesday, and to thank the AT&T Foundation for helping to make the program’s services possible.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Bill McCarthy, My Brother’s Keeper Program Director Kevin Mason, and former My Brother’s Keeper Board Chair Rev. Mike Murphy led the celebration, which featured hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans, cake, ice cream, cotton candy, popcorn, and even face-painting for the kids (and adults). 

Neighbors, volunteers, staff and friends shared a community cookout at My Brother’s Keeper on May 16. More photos below.

Since integrating with Catholic Charities on July 1, 2018, My Brother’s Keeper has more than tripled the number of people it provides meals for in the community each day, and has gone from serving five days a week to all week long. It has also expanded services to include case management, workforce development, benefits eligibility, expungement and legal services, after-school partnerships with elementary schools, and mental and behavioral health. Mason said it will also offer health screenings and prevention programming through a partnership with St. Agnes Health Care beginning in June.

“We are a welcoming place, without judgment, where individuals can find the compassion and services they need,” Mason said.

Legislators and leaders like State Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, Del. Keith Haynes, and City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett attended or sent ambassadors. AT&T Regional Director LaTara Harris also joined the festivities. The telecommunications company provided a $20,000 grant to help fund the program.

“I’m very passionate about what is happening in our communities and truly blessed to be in a place where our company is seeing what is happening in the hands of people who are doing this tremendous work,” said Harris, who is also from West Baltimore. “We hear a lot of negative news about our beloved Baltimore, but not about the tremendous work organizations like Catholic Charities are doing.”

Community is the focus of programs like My Brother’s Keeper, which work to alleviate poverty through its services in ways that strengthen individuals and their neighborhoods. My Brother’s Keeper has been open in Irvington for more than 30 years, serving individuals who lived there.

“I think people know I’m proudly from the west side,” Catholic Charities Executive Director Bill McCarthy told the crowd. “I grew up a mile down the road, and I think coming home is so important.” 

That’s what My Brother’s Keeper is about: coming home, being loved and accepted, and finding a path together.