Pathology Helps the Homeless

The Johns Hopkins Pathology Department’s annual “Clean your Closets and Cupboards” campaign to help the homeless at the Bea Gaddy Family Center is starting its 7th year.  Although this effort to help the community’s homeless started as a small project by a few people, it has grown to include over 17 laboratory areas in the Department.  The project combines the efforts of over 75 generous and committed people who coordinate and encourage donations in each area.  Laboratories areas such as Surgical Pathology, Transfusion Medicine, Microbiology, Immunology, Weinberg, Cytopathology, HIV, Pathology Administration, Pathology Residents, HATS, Pathology 7 Laboratory, CQI Office, Green Spring Laboratory, White Marsh Laboratory, Customer Service, and Pathology Data Systems, all generously support the Bea Gaddy Family Center annually.  Through the generosity of these areas the Department donates over 125 large bags of clothing, numerous boxes of household items and toys, and over 25 large boxes of food.  The teamwork and generosity of the Department’s contributors is truly a labor of love.

Michelle and Edgar picking up donations from labs through out the hospital
Michelle and Edgar picking up donations from labs through out the hospital

Ms. Fannie collecting donations Ms. Fannie collecting donations

Why did we choose this worthy cause?  Homelessness is a very complex problem with many variables, a major one being a lack of affordable housing.  The numbers are startling.  Over the course of a year, between 2.5 – 3.5 million people will live either on the streets or in an emergency shelter.  About 600,000 families and 1.35 million children experience homelessness in the U.S. each year.  It is estimated that 23-40% of the homeless adult population are veterans.  Homeless children go hungry twice as often as other children.  In rural areas, families, single mothers, and children make up the largest group of people who are homeless.  Only 20% of homeless families receive housing help and 43% of children living with homeless parents are under the age of 6.  With such compelling statistics, we decided to work with an organization near Johns Hopkins, to make a difference on the impact of homelessness in our immediate community.

Lisa and Wanda preparing donations for delivery to BEA GADDY
Lisa and Wanda preparing donations for delivery to BEA GADDY

The Bea Gaddy Family Center is located a few blocks from Johns Hopkins Hospital, on 425 North Chester Street, making it a charity where we can see the direct impact of our donations.   The center provides housing for homeless women and children.  It offers self-development and job training.  The center also provides tutoring programs, medical support, HIV, AIDS, and lead testing.  They also distribute food and blankets to the homeless on a daily basis.  The center provides Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners for thousands of Baltimore’s people annually.  Our food donations directly support the family food pantry and the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless.  Our donations of gently used clothing go to “Bea Gaddy Fashions,” a part of the shelter where homeless families are able to select clothing.  Our donations of baby food, clothes, diapers, and furniture are given to families on a waiting list.  Generally these items are given to people as soon as the center gets them.  The demand exceeds the supply.

loading donations for delivery
Loading donations for delivery

This year we once again ask for your help with donations of non-perishable food, used clothing, blankets, coats, gloves, hats, and personal care items for all ages.  Hunger and homelessness are very real problems affecting men, women and children.  With the recession, food banks and shelters do not have enough resources to help those affected by layoffs, cutbacks, foreclosures and the new poor. Your donations large and small will make such a difference for those who have nothing.

Our team will deliver donation boxes starting November 1st-3rd.   We will collect donation the entire month of November and have one major fund-raiser during the month.   Every Friday a team member will pickup donations and forward them to the Bea Gaddy Family Center.  Anyone needing help with unloading his or her car, or who wants to make special arrangements for pickups within Johns Hopkins Hospital, please call 443-287-8095 (ext. 7-8095) to make arrangements.  Our team will do our best to work with you.

JoyAnn, Edgar, Allen and Keith
JoyAnn, Edgar, Allen and Keith

RJ Malacas
RJ Malacas

I would like to give a “very special thank you and recognition” to Fannie Evans, Edgar Calderon, RJ Malacas, Keith Nguyen, Joyann Line, Allan Clarete, and the many dedicated people in the Core Laboratory who annually  collect from all Pathology drop-off boxes and sort, bag, box, and deliver donations to the Bea Gaddy Center.   I would also like to give a “very special thank you” to the many wonderful people in the individual Pathology laboratories who remind coworkers to bring donations and help with fund-raisers — your unselfish dedication and generous efforts are truly commendable, none of this would be possible without you.  Thank you all so very much!  You are truly the heart and soul of Pathology.

Lydia Nelson

Manager, Core Laboratory

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