Fostering relationships & partnering locally to improve community access to food
Here in Baltimore, Thread works to foster relationships and weave together communities in order to build a more equitable culture and support the success of young people with the greatest achievement and opportunity gaps. During the start of the pandemic, we did for our young people what you might do with your own family—pick up the phone, check to see how they’re doing, and ask how you can help. As our team went to check in with community members and families during the start of the pandemic, we posed one of our usual questions—”What do you need?”—and received one overwhelming response: food.
With schools and businesses shut down and limited access to public transportation, many of our community members were facing difficulty getting to grocery stores or finding enough food products stocked within the stores themselves. First, we started within the Thread community, delivering two weeks worth of groceries to 80+ families in need. Realizing that we could leverage our extensive community relationships, we quickly partnered with local and religious organizations to provide struggling families with a safer, more efficient avenue to access food. By purchasing large quantities of food from local distributors, who were no longer getting their usual distribution orders from restaurants, we created a model that allowed us to quickly get food to families where they are for far less, while also helping to keep distributors in business. This pilot program ultimately helped serve over 1,500 families in a three-week period. We are now serving over 3,000 meals via 15 community distribution sites across Baltimore each week.
In collaboration with Wes & Dawn Moore, Baltimore Corps, Whiting Turner, and over a dozen religious groups and nonprofits, we’ve expanded these efforts by launching the Food With A Focus project and putting together a fund to help provide even more families in Baltimore with access to food during these difficult times.