Youth Opportunity Centers Open Food Pantries

Youth Opportunity Centers Open Food Pantries


For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:

August 30, 2004

Diana Spencer, Public Information Officer 

Baltimore, MD – The Mayor’s Office of Employment Development’s Youth Opportunity Movement, in partnership with the Center for Poverty Solutions, announces the opening of two new food pantries – at the Westside and Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition (HEBCAC) Youth Opportunity Centers. These new pantries provide emergency food for community residents and program participants facing hunger and also provide training in nutrition and healthy meal preparation.

The food pantry at the Westside Youth Opportunity Community Center, 1510 W. Lafayette Avenue (Gilmor Street entrance), is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon. The food pantry at the HEBCAC Youth Opportunity Center, 1212 N. Wolfe Street, is open on Tuesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Fridays from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

“These pantries serve our members,” says Joe Smith, assistant manager at the Westside Center, “but we also want them to help strengthen the communities we serve. Those seeking assistance from the pantries are asked to show proof of neighborhood residency. Frequent users will be asked to give back by volunteering at the centers.”

This is an adaptation of the Center for Poverty Solutions’ award-winning School Pantry and Super Pantry Programs now operating in 34 schools across Maryland. “Hunger is a bigger issue in our schools and low-income communities than anyone wants to acknowledge,” says Alma Roberts, CEO of Poverty Solutions. “When people are hungry, performance – at work or at school – is negatively impacted.”

An initiative of the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board Youth Council, Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, and multiple workforce partners, YO! Baltimore increases the long-term employability of Empowerment Zone youth and young adults by offering a broad array of education, work-readiness and personal development resources and activities. Since YO! Baltimore began more than four years ago, 3,800 Empowerment Zone residents, ages 16 to 21, have become YO! members. Of these members: 1,444 have been placed in full-time employment, educational programs or skills training including 208 enrolled in or having completed college. In addition, 376 have earned high school diplomas, 136 have earned their GEDs, and 234 have earned career-training credentials.

The Center for Poverty Solutions is a statewide nonprofit with the mission of eradicating poverty by fostering opportunities that lead to self-sufficiency for people living in poverty including the working poor. The Center utilizes advocacy, technical assistance and training and community organizing and mobilizing in its efforts to achieve its mission.

For additional information about the new food pantries or YO! Baltimore, please call 410-396-6722. Interested in becoming a School Pantry site? Call Center for Poverty Solutions at 410-366-0600, ext. 101.

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