Community Service Opportunities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear Parents,

Mr. Smyth’s email message earlier this week confirmed that school will not resume at least until April 24 as the Governor has requested all citizens to maintain social distance to combat the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The school acknowledges that at this time it will be extremely difficult for students to fulfill community service graduation requirements. As such, the service requirement for our rising seniors (current junior class) and our rising ninth-grade students (current eighth-grade class) has been suspended. 

  • Rising seniors do not need to complete the required hours prior to the August 1 deadline and are invited to complete 50 hours prior to graduation 
  • The requirement has been waived for eighth-grade students

Students who have completed the requirement in part or in full may continue to submit the requisite forms at their convenience. 

Over the past week, a number of parents have inquired about ways to maintain a connection to the greater community through service. Below is a list of resources that remain open to provide essential services for those in need and suggestions on how you can help.

As you consider ways to serve, please remain vigilant in protecting yourself and your family from COVID-19. It is important to practice social distancing - please limit contact with other humans outside of your home. Additionally, if you are not feeling well, please wait until you are well to get involved. 

Stay well,

Donell Thompson, Jr. ‘91

Director of Service-Learning 

 

Updated April 27, 2020

Maryland Food Bank

Did you know that 1 in 7 people are relying on food banks for their daily supplies? The Gilman Red Cross Club is running a fundraiser for the Maryland Food Bank.

Help us fight hunger in our community during this unprecedented time of COVID-19. Every dollar you give will provide not only the gift of food but the gift of hope for food-insecure children and families.

Click here to donate now: https://mdfoodbank.fenly.org/drive/gilman-redcross-coronavirus-food-drive/

 

Parks & People Foundation

Parks & People is one of many partners working with the National Aquarium to participate in the 2020 City nature Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to connect with nature in whatever city you live in to identify as many species as possible in a short time.

Download the iNaturalist app and use it to take photos of any and all species you can find from April 24 -27, 2020 (plants, animals, fungi, etc). Please follow all federal, state, and local guidelines regarding social distancing for your safety and others. The best options to participate are by looking right in your backyard, or a (non-crowded) park near your house. 

This will help to identify biodiversity in the Baltimore area (or wherever you live.) Scientists and experts will be looking at the entries to properly identify all species. 

Sign up here by April 17th to get counted as a volunteer with Parks & People.

 

Charm City Run - The Maryland Food Bank - UMMC COVID-19 Response Fund

With races canceled or postponed until a later date, Charm City Run wants to stay engaged with runners and support organizations that are working hard during the coronavirus crisis. Click here

The "race" begins on April 17, 2020, and runners can pick 5k, 10k, of half (or multiple races). They run the distance from wherever they are and then submit their results via text, email, or the website until 4/30 to see how they stack up against others. Winners get awards from UA and CCR. Registrants will receive a cool Maryland Heart pin we are designing, and 100% of the proceeds will be split between the MD Food Bank and the University of Maryland  Medical System Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund.

There is a competition between stores to see who can get the largest team. Whoever ends up with the most will get a $10 CCR store credit (underwritten by Under Armour) for each member of the team (up to 200 people). Please share the link on your social accounts and help us spread the word.

 

My Sister’s Place (Catholic Charities)

My Sister’s Place is currently seeking food and monetary donations, including casseroles (store-bought or home-made email jmartin@cc-md.org for information), bottled water, canned chicken/tuna/vegetables/soup, bread, deli meat, sliced cheese and more. Visit the website for more details.

 

Operation Gratitude

Collect and send wish list items and/or write letters to send to first responders through Operation Gratitude

 

The United Way of Central Maryland Community 

Please visit the Community Impact Leadership Institute site to learn more! Those participants that have reached a total of 20 points by May 31st will be notified by email and sent completion certificates over the summer. Stay tuned for more info.

 

Other helpful links:

MobileServe - virtual volunteer resources (scroll down for opportunities)
 

Maryland Unites

The office of the Governor of Maryland offers this resource as a list of ways in which Marylanders can help.

 

Donald Bentley Food Pantry

The Donald Bentley Food Pantry remains open (Saturdays) to serve its regular clients. Please contact Mr. Josh Julius at jkjulius@gmail.com if you would like to make a donation.

 

Our Daily Bread Employment Center (Catholic Charities)

Do you like to cook? Our Daily Bread Employment Center, My Sister’s Place, and My Brother’s Keeper each are in need of casseroles to feed clients. You can access the recipes using this link. Please contact the volunteer staff if you would like to donate a prepared food item. 

Cooking not for you? Check out this list of urgently needed in-kind donations

 

Pickersgill Retirement Community

  1. Have you been thinking about your elder partner(s) from Pickersgill? Take a moment to write them a letter to say hello. Because of the restrictions on social gatherings, retirement communities have suspended all casual visits and many residents may feel lonely. A quick note to say hello could easily bring a smile to your favorite resident’s face. (Feel free to use Gilman’s address as the return address - 5407 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210 - rather than use your own. Contact the volunteer coordinator, Ms. Tricia Selko, for more information at tselko@pickersgillretirement.org.
  2. We at Pickersgill are looking for volunteers that would like to make a video so we can share on our in-house TV channel.  If you feel like you have some to say to our residents or if you have a talent you would like to showcase.  We would love to see it.  

Here are some ideas.

  • If you play an instrument and would like to do a performance for us.
  • If you want to just send a message of encouragement
  • If you dance
  • If you want to read a poem
  • If you want to read a short story
  • If you would like to sing a song
  • Showing off your pet's talents 

We have been using Zoom to record.  Or if you send us in an MP3 or MP4 format. 

 

Baltimore Hunger Project

Baltimore Hunger Project is so grateful for the outpouring of support the community has shown us via phone calls, texts, and emails asking how they can help. We are working closely with our partnering schools to make sure we can best support the children in our community while the schools are closed. However, we cannot do it without community and volunteer support. Below are ways to help us aid these children during these uncertain times:

  1. Help stock our warehouse with our greatest needs. We are currently concentrating on items that are ready to eat, such as canned chicken, canned tuna, granola bars, Nutri-Grain bars, protein bars, applesauce pouches, and fruit snacks. We currently have an Amazon Wish List set up with many of these items: bit.ly/BHPwishlist
  2. Donate funds to help us purchase needed food items. Donations can be made on our Facebook fundraiser or at www.baltimorehungerproject.org/donate.
  3. Sign up to be notified when delivery and distribution help is needed. We are keeping a list of names and contact information of people who want the latest information regarding these updates. To be added to the list, please email Lynne Kahn at Lynne@baltimorehungerproject.org
  4. Continue to make Notes of Encouragement for our children please email Lynne Kahn at Lynne@baltimorehungerproject.org for more information
  5. Please keep our community, especially our children and families in need, in your thoughts and prayers.

 

Franciscan Center of Baltimore

Last week the Franciscan Center created and served over 2,000 lunches and gave out 40 emergency grocery bags. Their Social Work team continues to provide support for individuals and families during this time. If you would like to help, please visit the Center’s Amazon Wish List or consider donating the following items:

  • Bottled Water
  • Paper Pantry Bags
  • To Go Food Boxes
  • To Go Soup Containers with Lids

Civic Works

Civic Works has three options for service for students and one for parents:

  1. Write letters to a retirement community (similar to Pickersgill) to offer words of encouragement that may bring a smile on a resident’s face.
  2. Create index cards to go that will go into bags of produce that will go out in late May. Ideas of what can be written on the cards include something fun (appropriate) and catchy such as a vegetable cartoon or interesting facts about vegetables, recipes for vegetable dishes.
  3. For the artists out there - Design and create sturdy, permanent signs for the Civic Works farm. 

 

If your family is interested in participating in any of these projects, please contact me at dthompson@gilman.edu and I will put you in contact with the Director of Volunteerism and Events.