Republished from the BTU email blast
The BTU recently learned that residents of Douglas Homes, a public housing project in the Dunbar-Broadway neighborhood, were blocked from receiving donations to supplement the food given out by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC), which, according to residents, was initially non-existent, and later insufficient, and of poor quality. The efforts to feed residents was led by Resident Advisory Board Delegate for Douglas Homes, Reverend Annie Chambers, who coordinated with several food pantries, including Living Classrooms, the Power House, The Free Farm, and the Franciscan Center to deliver groceries to seniors, the disabled, mothers of newborns, and other Douglas Homes residents that are unable to make it to a grocery store.
In late March, several Housing Authority staff members would not let the Franciscan Center deliver food to the residents of Douglas Homes. A HABC representative said that giving away food on Housing Authority property violates Housing Authority rules. The director of the Franciscan Center arrived to clarify that their center is an approved food pantry that is allowed by Baltimore City to distribute meals and food during this crisis. The Housing Authority staff still denied him access to Douglas Home and said they would not allow them or other pantries to make food deliveries even during this crisis.
At that point, the Housing Authority made it clear that they would continue to deny drop offs from food pantries. Reverend Annie Chambers, who is coordinating the food drop offs, vowed to do everything in her power to get these groceries to the people in need despite the Housing Authority trying to stop her. The BTU acted to support the residents of Douglas Homes by making a donation of both cash and food. Members also called the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to complain about the treatment of the residents and as a result of their actions and the actions of others across the state, Douglas Homes residents are now allowed to receive donations. However, HABC has continued to harass and make threats of arrest and eviction for Rev. Chambers and other residents and volunteers.
As this crisis goes on, food insecurity will continue to be an issue for our students and their families, and the BTU will continue to offer support to those in need. As educators, our care for children does not stop just because we are not in the physical spaces of our classrooms, and especially now, as we care for them and their well-being through this crisis. We are asking members to get involved in community assistance actions. Advocacy, volunteer, and donation opportunities for members are ongoing through the BTU Organizing Committee. You can sign up for information or to assist with BTU’s efforts on this Google form or donate directly to Rev. Chambers at https://donorbox.org/annie