How To Help Baltimore Residents As They Begin The Long Process Of Rebuilding Their Community
Baltimore has been rocked by protests that turned violent on Monday, after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who died April 19 of injuries apparently suffered while in police custody. But many citizens of Baltimore have been working to help their community recover, with photos filling social media sites Tuesday of people sweeping up broken glass, handing out food and water, or otherwise trying to help restore calm to the city. And there are plenty of ways people living outside Baltimore who have witnessed the situation on television can pitch in.
It's no secret that Baltimore is a community with many people living in poverty. And while it's always wise to investigate any organization before donating money or other items, there are several groups based in the city who have established donation pages for various charitable organizations. The Baltimore Sun has a partial list of some organizations within Baltimore in need of assistance, monetary or otherwise, that have suffered damage from the protests, or who work with residents.
The Baltimore Community Foundation has started The Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore, "in response to recent painful events in our city," its website states. The BCF, as it's otherwise known, does not offer a specific outline of what needs it will address, but says it plans to work with the community to best determine how to use any funds contributed.
The Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods is administering a spreadsheet listing volunteer opportunities within Baltimore. It includes requests for monetary donations for community centers, requests for clothing donations, and places that need assistance with cleanup.
A fund to help employees of Camden Yards has also been established. The person who started the GoFundMe page, sportswriter Bill Baer, notes that since two Baltimore Orioles games were postponed, another was closed to the public, and the next few games were moved to Florida to play the Tampa Bay Rays, employees of the stadium could miss out on several days' pay. The page states, "This fund is designed to help alleviate some of the financial burden Camden Yards employees will suffer."
Beyond the efforts to repair damage done to businesses during the protests, there are several groups trying to garner longer term help. The Youth Empowered Society, a drop-in center for homeless and at-risk youth in Baltimore, is asking for PayPal donations. The center was damaged by a fire during Monday's protests.
If you're actually in Baltimore or plan to head there soon, The Baltimore Sun writes that people who want to volunteer for clean-up efforts can call 311 to sign up. But however you can help, it will surely be appreciated by the Baltimore residents who have seen damage to their community in more than one way.
Images: Getty Images (2)