Raise a glass to those who made the area cleaner, better and nicer in 2010

Written by on December 29, 2010 in Guide Point - No comments

The thing about Guide readers is, when the going gets tough, they volunteer. They donate. They roll up their sleeves, haul up their socks and get to work. And 2010 was a year that required lots of resolve, determination and goodwill from everyone.

Starting with Snowmageddon last February and moving on through the year, neighbors in South and Southeast Baltimore worked together to solve difficulties and make their communities stronger. As bad news from just about every quarter accumulated like the drifting snow, our communities worked together to get through it.

So raise a glass to the scores of anonymous snow shovelers out there who dug out their elderly and frail neighbors, pushed cars, picked up groceries, and did countless other chores for their friends and neighbors in February.

And here’s to the city sanitation workers who climbed snowbanks and struggled through drifts to pick up the garbage and recycling.

Put your hands together for the folks in Greektown who established not one, but two community gardens, and for the Fells Pointers who turned a contentious topic—the slow redevelopment of the St. Stanislaus property—into an asset, a blooming community garden where neighbors met and chatted while weeding and watering. And here’s to developer Larry Silverstein, who made it happen at some cost to himself. It’s not often that communities and developers cooperate, and when it happens it’s time to celebrate.

While we’re talking shovels, let’s give a pat on the back to the armies of volunteers who picked up shovels and brooms to clean the city in the spring and fall. Kids as well as grownups pitched in and picked up tons of litter, construction debris and assorted junk from our streets, schoolyards and vacant lots.

The people who manned the city cooling stations deserve a thank-you too. The only reason that 2010 was not the coldest year on record is that its summer was one of the hottest, and scores of volunteers helped man mayor’s stations, senior centers and other public buildings that were designated cooling centers for people without air conditioning and the resources to cool down.

Throughout the hot summer, volunteers in Patterson and Riverside parks dug, edged, planted, and beautified their neighborhood parks. Let’s lift a cold one to them, and to the volunteers for the youth soccer leagues in Patterson Park and the South Baltimore Little League who coached and managed their youth leagues through the searing summer.

Don’t forget that the South Baltimore Learning Center, with the help of its volunteers and donors, graduated two classes of people who have a much better chance of making their way through life with their new GEDs and high school diplomas.

Don’t forget South Baltimore Emergency Relief, which gave aid and comfort to a growing number of homeless people; and to food banks like Canton Baptist’s, struggling to meet the increased demand of people who have lost their jobs and incomes.

And the Exchange Club of Highlandtown and Canton, which organizes not one, but two food drives, and a Christmas toy drive, with the cooperation of St. Casimir School, The Baltimore Guide and the Southeastern District police. More than 200 families would have missed out on their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners if not for the decades-long cooperative effort by the Exchange Club and the police. The Southern District Police also make the holidays merrier for others.

Don’t forget the Fort McHenry Business Association, which has delivered turkey dinners to South Baltimore Emergency Relief for the past 13 years.

Thanks also to all those who donated food, toys and supplies to the animals in the shelters, and who provided pet food and litter to our friends at Meals on Wheels for their Kibble Connection. So many people in so many groups have contributed to the good life we have in our neighborhoods that I am sure I have forgotten someone—but I give thanks for all our readers, and the opportunity to write so many positive stories over the year just past.

In times like these, we have to rely on each other. And the beautiful thing about our communities is, we can rely on each other.

By Jacqueline Watts

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