Heart of the Park Meal Program Ends after Providing 20,000 Free Meals to the Community
BALTIMORE, Maryland – Heart of the Park, the free meal giveaway created to meet community needs that emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, served its last meal on June 30, 2020. The program, which began in late March and overall, served over 20,000 to Baltimoreans in need and those on the front lines.
Pierpoint, the beloved Fells Point restaurant helmed by Chef Nancy Longo, provided the meals for Heart of the Park and, as a result of the initiative, was able to not just keep its staff employed during the pandemic, but to increase its payroll.
- Chef Longo teamed up with Harbor Park Garage manager Kera Miller to oversee distribution of the meals to the community at the garage. Together, the pair made a formidable team, moving the program forward and helping locals take home boxed lunches and dinners, seven days a week, for the duration of the program.
Meals were also distributed to front line workers at the COVID units of local hospitals and community centers, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Northwest Hospital, St. Joe’s Medical Center, the St. Francis Neighborhood Center and The Italian Culture Center and its Be A Chef For A Day program.
The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, under the leadership of Downtown Management Authority President Shelonda Stokes, played an integral role in publicizing and raising funds to support the Heart of the Park initiative. Through the Downtown Partnership, over $55,000 was raised, which helped keep the program going during some of the leanest months the city has seen in its long history.
Now that the city is reopening and Baltimoreans are heading back to work, demand for daily meals is, thankfully, shifting to some of the cities neediest residents.
As the need for meals changes, the organizations behind the Heart of the Park initiative are shifting their focuses back to their original missions: operating a restaurant and a parking garage and supporting the businesses of the downtown district.
However, they recognize and hope to continue to support Chef Longo’s ongoing needs of organizations like the St. Francis Neighborhood Center and The Italian Culture Center. These organizations, and many more, work, day in and day out, to meet the ongoing needs of Baltimore City residents – and need support to ensure those efforts are successful.
Contacts for this program:
- Chef Nancy Longo, Pierpoint Restaurant, (410) 675-2080, redchef1822[at]earthlink[dot]net
- Kera Miller, Manager Harbor Park Garage (410) 234-3631, kmiller[at]spplus[dot]com
- Shelonda Stokes, President Downtown Partnership, (410) 244-1030, sstokes[at]dpob[dot]org
Download our full infographic below to see the positive impact of Heart of the Park to our Baltimore community!
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