(BALTIMORE – October 23, 2023) – For 41 years, the Bea Gaddy Family Center’s annual Thanksgiving dinner has been a symbol of unity, compassion, and generosity in East Baltimore. It has brought together people from all walks of life, transcending racial and socio-economic boundaries, to celebrate the spirit of the holiday by sharing a warm meal. The recent news of its relocation to the Cherry Hill neighborhood is met with mixed feelings, and it raises questions about the city’s priorities and commitment to its most vulnerable residents.The Bea Gaddy Family Center, a community-based nonprofit organization, has tirelessly served the people of East Baltimore during Thanksgiving, ensuring that nobody goes hungry on this special day. The event’s move to the Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center in Cherry Hill has sparked a wave of concerns and disappointment among many, and it’s not hard to understand why.
For over four decades, this event was deeply rooted in East Baltimore, becoming a beloved tradition and a symbol of hope for the community. While we acknowledge that the City of Baltimore was quick to find an alternative venue to ensure the event’s continuity, the choice of Cherry Hill, a neighborhood miles away from East Baltimore, raises valid concerns.
Cherry Hill, like many neighborhoods in Baltimore, faces its own set of challenges, including transportation and accessibility. The vulnerable population served by the Thanksgiving dinner typically does not have access to private vehicles, which makes the distance between East Baltimore and Cherry Hill a significant obstacle. While there may shuttle bus services, it remains a less-than-ideal solution for a community that relies on the dinner for a warm meal and a sense of belonging during Thanksgiving.
One cannot help but question the timing of this relocation, which coincides with an election season in the city. This unexpected change in venue casts a shadow on the city’s commitment to its most underserved communities, particularly when considering past events like Artscape, which receive significant attention and resources. It’s a stark reminder of the disparities that persist in Baltimore, where some communities seem to receive second-hand services compared to others.
Moreover, the Bea Gaddy Family Center’s Thanksgiving dinner, which was originally intended to support the East Baltimore community, now serves a more diverse demographic. It feeds not only Black residents but also white and Latino individuals in need. This makes the decision to move the event even more perplexing, as it impacts an even wider range of people in the city.
While it’s essential to adapt and find alternatives when the usual venue becomes unavailable, this transition could have been handled with greater care and consideration. The city should have explored options that better preserve the event’s historical significance and accessibility for its long-time attendees.
Baltimore is a city with a rich history and a vibrant community. The Bea Gaddy Family Center’s Thanksgiving dinner exemplifies the city’s potential to bring people together in the spirit of compassion and unity. However, the decision to move the event away from its roots raises concerns about equity and the importance the city places on the most vulnerable members of its community.
As the Thanksgiving season approaches, let’s hope that this decision will prompt reflection and lead to a more inclusive and thoughtful approach in the future. Baltimore can and should do better for all its residents, regardless of where they live or their racial background. The city’s dedication to its people, particularly those in need, should remain unwavering and steadfast, as the spirit of Thanksgiving itself teaches us.
Maybin, the former pro football player from Baltimore, finds himself taking up another worthy cause this week: The Bea Gaddy …
Eastside Legend Greg Branch at Bea Gaddy’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner 2013 Watch full video on YouTube
Rob at Bea Gaddy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner 2013 Feeding the Homeless Watch full video on YouTube
Cynthia Brooks, Bea Gaddy’s Daughter, at Annual Thanksgiving Dinner 2013 Watch full video on YouTube
Cynthia Brooks, Bea Gaddy’s Daughter, Discusses Thanksgiving 2013. Call 410. 563.2749. 425 N. Chester Street in East Baltimore. Watch full …
50,000 fed on Thanksgiving at annual dinner. The number of Latinos in line has drastically increased. Where is America’s effort …
Corvette clubs from the DMV and Tri-State areas bring 150+ cars with food for annual Thanksgiving Dinner, a feat that …
Sandra gives a wrap on today’s Annual Thanksgiving Dinner in East Baltimore. Watch full video on YouTube