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In the late 1960's as a young Jesuit seminarian, Father Tom Composto (1938-2011) came to Whitelock Street in the Reservoir Hill area of Baltimore City. It was a time of great social change and upheaval in the American culture and the Catholic Church. At two distinct moments in his life, Father Tom faced a decision about where he could be serve God. The first decision may have been easy. The second decision was agonizing. On both occasions, he chose to live and serve in Reservoir Hill.

Last Friday, when President Trump called protesters “thugs” and tweeted, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he was quoting widely-denounced former Miami police chief Walter E. Headly. The civil unrest of 1967 and 1968 took place against a backdrop of police brutality, institutionalized, systemic racism, and entrenched poverty in the black community. When white authorities blamed the violence on black radical groups intent on fomenting violent dissent, a commission appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson flatly rejected this claim. They concluded that racism was the root of the problem.

Long time SFNC supporter Beth Manning introduced us to Jonathan Moore, local business owner, founder, and CEO of Rowdy Or.bit Media and Entertainment, who has been working with us for several months in our high school program. It started as a mural mapping project in 21217, through discussions around inequality, art, and opportunity – this project evolved into our youth installing a mesh network at New Song Academy in Sandtown/Winchester to provide free Wi-Fi.

Of course, we hoped to end the year with together with lots of hugs!

But, we reminisce, as shown in the photos above! We miss our buddies, but remain connected. As we wind down the school year, we reflect on our successes, partners, volunteers. The transformative power of SFNC’s out of school time program are reflected in the educational outcomes of our youth, evaluated by an external evaluator annually. Eight years of evaluation have shown tremendous success.

Meet superstar Tanesha! She and her children have been in our youth and family development programs for 8 years. We are family. Tanesha is a hairdresser, and when COVID-19 hit, she took a big hit financially. When we asked her during this time if there was any career she would like to pursue – or online training to continue her education, she said said she wanted to be ServSafe certified So we helped her explore this!

We don't stop! Career day was always a hit for everyone involved. We didn’t want to pass on this amazing event due to social distancing, so we made it work virtually! By using Zoom and break-out rooms, our high school students met various Career Specialists. They were able to connect and learn from each other. Career Day is set up as informational interviewing MEETS speed dating. Each high school student speaks with Career Specialists from different career fields to learn about the specifics of the job, the education required, alternative paths, and advice for someone to pursue that field.

Time to mix it up. Next Week is Virtual Spirit Week! We want you to join our community, families, and kids in showing your spirit. Our kids will be dressing up for their virtual daily classrooms. Send us pictures or post on social media. Tag @StFrancisBmore or #SFNCBmore or send us your pictures to info@stfranciscenter.org. Let's have some fun. Show us your spirit!!!

We want to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all our mothers, grandmothers and caretakers! You truly have the hardest job in the world, and we couldn't be more proud and thankful for the sacrifices you make.

To our supporters, please consider making a donation to our Emergency Fund to support families in need this #mothersday.

Continuing community connections, and staying positive at home during this time is tough. But photographer Mollye Miller created a unique gift and uplifting idea--porch photos! From a safe distance, she took family photos on their stoops and porches at no cost to our families.

Mollye's photos on the porch was a success,11 families--over 50 people participated! It showed families enjoying each other during the shutdown. The images captured moments instead of pictures. Our parents said that Mollye was a joy. She was the highlight of their day. Ms. Mollye gives energy that makes you smile. We love her spirit and her energy. The families appreciated her. Mollye is a regular volunteer at the Center with our photography club. In fact, her tips from her paid porch project sessions, she donated back to our Emergency Fund. When we thanked her, she stated,"Thank YOU all for the work you do for these awesome families and the community!"

At its core, Giving Tuesday is a global day created to facilitate our deep-seated desire to help each other. Our belief has always been that through local action, we can inspire global change. This couldn’t be more true during these unprecedented times.

Today, May 5, 2020, is #GivingTuesdayNOW - a day to come together to help our communities be strong, resilient, heal and move forward.

The average per family cost of an emergency is $160 for one week, or $640/month.

However, the average above does not include larger emergencies, for example, a recent $3,800 request for one family that we are working on. Short version is a family of 8 was already going to be evicted and utilities cut off right when COVID-19 happened, we don't want them homeless the minute restrictions are lifted.

Successes and Struggles: During this critical time, 787 people have received Center support in the last 5 weeks, with food--now 100 cases of chicken, water, toilet paper, hygiene items, baby food/formula, resources, art/craft supplies for children, bedding, medical supplies/equipment (adult diapers, bed pads). Of those 787, 355 were served with customized needs (medical, advocacy, food, etc.). We anticipate these same individuals will need subsequent support--and based on our work, we foresee the need will continue to rise for the next several months (continued)

Also meet "Superstar Taniya," that with the helping hand of SFNC Program Associate Emily Mayock and team – she has been awarded multiple college scholarships – enough for a full ride!

To date, 660 people have received support in the last 4 weeks with food (even 50 cases of chicken), water, toilet paper, hygiene items, baby food/formula, resources, art/craft supplies for children, bedding, medical supplies/equipment (adult diapers, bed pads). Of those 660, 301 were served with customized needs. We anticipate these same individuals will need subsequent support and we anticipate an increase overall. In 4 weeks the emergency fund requests jumped 1600% and climbing. All of our efforts are reaching those most vulnerable to COVID-19, who were already experiencing poverty, homelessness, medical issues, and more.

As you know, we did something unprecedented. We loaned every one of our laptop computers from our mobile lab out to our families--over 50. And, we caught the attention of the news. In case you missed it-- Check out our Operations & Program Director Torbin Green and student Zayon in the news report here.

We did something unprecedented this week. During meal giveaways, we loaned every one of our laptop computers from our mobile lab out to our families--over 50. And, we caught the attention of the news. Check out our Operations & Program Director Torbin Green and student Zayon in the news report here.

As we continue into uncharted territory with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at SFNC are deeply committed to our community. Here is what we are doing and what you can do to help.