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  • Cynthia Fraser

“Loaves and Fishes” Outreach Ministry

“Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

According to St. Vincent de Paul, there are over 750,000 people (one in every 8) in Maryland who are food insecure, meaning they don’t have consistent access to nutritious food. Many of those people live in Baltimore City, where the food insecurity rate of 23% is by far the highest of any jurisdiction the state. 1 in 4 of Baltimore City’s school aged children are hungry when they arrive to school and some having not eaten a full meal since they left school the day before. The parishioners of Good Shepherd have been helping to feed the homeless and less fortunate in Baltimore City for more than 30 years through an ecumenical group ministry called “Loaves and Fishes”. The group includes the Church of the Redeemer, St. Ignatius, Gilman, and Loyola University, to name a few. On one Saturday a month, the volunteers at Good Shepherd prepare meals and deliver them to the homeless in Baltimore City during the winter months. This year, Good Shepherd volunteers will begin preparing meals on November 2nd and run through March 2020. The group is headed by Jill Hanson. They get together in the Parish kitchen on Saturday afternoon and prepare hot soup, sandwiches, coffee, and hot chocolate to feed 250 people. They then take a van to Baltimore City for a few hours to distribute the food and beverages. They make scheduled visits to shelters, with stops along the way in areas where the homeless frequent. They also have found a great need for blankets, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, socks and new underwear and have added a clothing drive to their mission. This is Jill’s second year as the head of “Loaves and Fishes” for Good Shepherd, but she has been involved for six years, and it has become a family affair. Josh Rodriguez + asked her to help prepare food with the Youth Group years ago. The next year, when her oldest had a community service requirement for school, he asked her if they could do “Loaves and Fishes” again because he had so much fun! Jill said, “That year and the next we worked almost all the CoGS weekends making food. It is a wonderful way to give back and work with terrific people, and a terrific way to get children involved and give them a sense of helping others”. She said it’s been a great experience for the whole family. Her husband helps her with the shopping and her boys help her with the cooking. Typically parents and kids help with the food prep and adults help with delivering the food downtown. Last year, the Good Shepherd volunteers did a great job of letting the cooks know how important their work was and how impactful it was for those that received the food. That connection was important. Jill could use more volunteers this year, so if you are interested in helping, please sign up online at or contact Jill Hanson at or 410-292-2754. And if you can’t volunteer, you can still help out by donating blankets and clothing. There will be a bin in the foyer for you to drop them off, and her team will see that they are donated and put to good use.

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