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In community with the homeless

Hopkins in Action volunteers deliver on lunches and empathy
Posted October 22, 2014

In Community With the Homeless


At least 4,000 individuals lack stable shelter every night in Baltimore City, according to Adam Schneider, A&S '03 (MA), who is director of community relations for Health Care for the Homeless (HCH), one of several local non-profit organizations which participated in the 2014 Johns Hopkins in Action day in Baltimore.

Hundreds of volunteers – faculty, staff, students, alums, families and friends – showed up to work on community efforts ranging from planting trees and cleaning waterways to beautifying city parks and making lunches for the homeless population.

"In terms of our mission and our values, and giving back to the community, it really starts here in our own backyard," says Casey Branchini, A&S '08 and PhD candidate at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Branchini helped to make lunches and also deliver them.

"My heart pitter-patters every time I'm out here and I see groups show up," says Tony Simmons, who is a speaker in the Faces of Homelessness series as well as editor of the Word on the Street newspaper. "My heart fills with love," he says.

In total, more than 200 lunches were prepared and distributed. And while people may think there is no long-term impact with handing out lunches, this is not true, says Schneider. Meeting this immediate need allows HCH to engage new people in broader services like healthcare, affordable housing, and livable income programs.

Activities from Hopkins in Action also directly tie into Rising to the Challenge campaign priorities such as the Institute for the American City, which deals with ways to strengthen the health and prosperity of urban communities across the nation.