Ever since the unrest in Baltimore, United Way of Central Maryland and UPS have worked together to pick up and deliver essential supplies to area senior centers and elementary schools.
Two of the 45 companies that have collected donations over the past three weeks are CareFirst and Classic Catering.
Monday, May 18 was the most recent delivery day. Long-time UPS driver and United Way volunteer Felix Guinto was just one of the drivers helping out. When he's off the clock, he collects 8,000 to 10,000 toys a year (mainly from other UPS employees) and donates them to local hospitals. In fact, on Monday, he was volunteering his time for his hometown of Baltimore.
Reflecting on the day, Felix was hopeful. "The community needed this. People will rebound. You saw people in the streets giving back. People believe in making this a better place. I've lived in Baltimore my whole life. I love Baltimore."
For seniors at Sandtown-Winchester Senior Center and families whose kids go to Matthew A. Henson Elementary School – just two of the recipients of supplies last Monday hope comes in the way of basic household items and food.
For Beatrice Yoes ("Mom B" to her friends at the Sandtown-Winchester Senior Center), the basic household items were just what she needed. Mom B, who just turned 98 last month, still lives at home but visits the senior center every day. During the unrest, she didn't leave her home for a week and couldn't get to the store.
She was very appreciative of all of the donations. When asked what she would say to employees of CareFirst, Classic Catering and the dozens of other companies that donated supplies, she said, "I would tell them the work they are doing is fantastic. It means everything to people my age. Please continue that good work."
"I'm thankful that seniors are thought of the way we are. The donations mean everything."
The President of the PTA at Matthew A. Henson Elementary School, Marlayna Davis (surrounded by the kids in one of the tweets below ), echoed Mom B's thoughts.
"Our families have been very appreciative of all the help they've gotten. They had a hard time getting out...to get the basics."
"Students seeing people give helped inspire our kids to see what they could do themselves. Thank you for showing our kids how we can turn a negative into a positive."
The kids who go to Matthew Henson Elementary School were just as grateful. You could see it on their faces as they helped Felix unload the delivery truck.
Appreciation was definitely a theme that day. David Guzman, principal of Matthew Henson, spoke of the partnership with United Way and UPS.
"United Way and UPS have continued to come in to our community. They're still coming in after everyone else has left. Our partnership with them has continued."
"It's because United Way sees the bigger picture. In our partnership with United Way, we know we can meet basic needs."
"That's important here, because 98% of the people who live here live below the poverty line.”
"But, we're outperforming the district average in reading, and our math scores are high."
"It's definitely a community effort."
At the end of the day, it's about bringing people together and lifting up our communities. One senior center, one elementary school, one city at a time. #OneBaltimore.