As My Brother’s Keeper continues to expand our services for the 21229 area, we continue to stay true to where we began. In the early 1980’s, My Brother’s Keeper was simply a safe place for nearby residents to grab a bite to eat and warm cup of coffee. In 2014, our program has grown to incorporate job searches, job security, youth programs, health services, and social programs for 21229 residents, while also expanding our meal programs. What began as a simple cup of coffee has now evolved into thousands of meals being served from our J.P. Blase Cooke Center each year. In the year 2013 alone, My Brother’s Keeper served 18,765 hot meals and 3,900 bagged lunches to 21229 residents. We have also served 11,464 meals and 2,500 bagged lunches through July of this year. During the summer of 2014, as part of collaboration with The Federal Summer Food Service Program, 610 breakfasts were served in June and July to our young guests.
Our programs strive to not only help keep stomachs full in the neighborhood, but to also educate the community about food. While My Brother’s Keeper tries to make healthy and fresh foods available to the 21229 area, residents need to know how to prepare the foods in order to take full advantage of these food opportunities.
Our Meal Programs
- Hot Meal Program– Thanks to our coordination with the community, our kitchen manager Gordon Crockett, his assistant Dorothy Kent and our volunteers, are able to provide delicious and healthy hot meals for the 21229 residents. Meals are served 5 per week during the months of June to August and 6 per week during the months of September to May.
- Bag Lunch Program– Through the kind actions of the St. Joseph Monastery, our residents are also able to take healthy meals home with them through our bagged lunch program.
- Food Voucher Program– By partnering with the Beechfield United Methodist Church, My Brother’s Keeper is able to provide groceries for the 21229 area through our food voucher program. Food is available through our pantry and through the Maryland Food Bank. The food bank allows My Brother’s Keeper to purchase items at a lower cost, so monetary donations are able to go farther.
- Maryland Food Bank– Coordinated access to food from pantries serving 21229 by hosting and supporting the Maryland Food Bank’s NPAC [Neighborhood Pantry Area Councils] and supported outreach efforts to encourage residents to take advantage of fresh produce drops in the community in order to expand access to fresh food.
- Community Gardens– Creation of a garden area including two raised beds for growing vegetables on site to demonstrate the potential for urban gardening. My Brother’s Keeper has also identified other areas in the surrounding neighborhoods where similar gardens may be feasible.
Want to learn how you can help the community of Irvington? Interested in learning more about our meal programs and food services? Visit the My Brother’s Keeper website today to learn how you can donate and volunteer. You can also call us today at 410-644-3194.