A story from the August issue of ‘Round Downtown’, a publication of the Downtown Partnership
Catholic Charities has dozens of projects bringing help and hope to residents in Baltimore and around the world. One project of particular benefit to our region is Project SERVE. It recruits AmeriCorps members for a year of service, living and working Downtown. Participants come from across the country – from different universities, experiences, and backgrounds – but
they have one thing in common: the desire to give back.
“Recruits get hands-on experience in community development and learn how to advocate for change” said Allison Stone, Project SERVE Program Coordinator.
“Project SERVE brings in a group of young, talented people to Baltimore each year,” Stone says. “Their energy and enthusiasm provide new life to the program and to the city.” 23-year-old Hannah Cox takes her volunteer work a step further than most. After graduating from Texas A&M University, the History and English major devoted herself to a year of service.
Through Project SERVE, Hannah came to Baltimore last year and began working at Our Daily Bread, feeding nearly 800 men, women, and children who would otherwise go hungry. Our Daily Bread is the largest free meal service in Maryland and it requires a lot of help to get the job done – 200 to 300 volunteers per week.
“It was eye-opening,” Cox said of her year of service which she completed in July. “It’s rewarding and challenging to see how things operate outside of college and outside of Texas.”
“Everyday there’s a new volunteer, a new guest, a new story, and a new situation,” Cox said. “It’s great to see how people change through volunteering in positive ways, and it’s inspiring to see the benefits we’re bringing the people we serve.”
Cox was one of five Project SERVE participants this year. They worked at the St. Vincent Center, Sarah’s House, Esperanza Center, My Sister’s Place Women’s Shelter, and Our Daily Bread, supporting Baltimore’s at-risk children, the homeless, foster care families, senior citizens, and recent immigrants. Project SERVE directly aligns with Downtown Partnership’s biggest priorities: working to create a better Downtown, providing a helping hand to those who need it, and drawing people to Baltimore by showing them the opportunity our city holds.
A few weeks after Hannah Cox finished her year of service, a new crew of Project SERVE members moved into Downtown to begin their year-long odyssey in what will be the program’s 13th year.