BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are hundreds of families living at Douglass Homes affordable housing community in Baltimore who said it’s hard to find essential items at their local grocery stores during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ron Williams is a resident at Douglass Homes who lost his job on March 18. He said that things have been difficult ever since.
“Money is tight, bills aren’t getting paid,” he said.
Reverend Annie Chambers handed out food donations Wednesday. She is a resident herself at Douglass Homes and President of the Resident Advisory Board.
Volunteers handed out brown bag lunches with sandwiches, an apple and a bottle of water inside. Bags of no perishable food items were also available.
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Reverend Chambers gets all the food from the Franciscan Center.
“We’re trying time give food to our people, people in this community because nobody has come to Douglass Homes. Nobody has come to help us,” she said.
Many residents said the only local grocery store within walking distance didn’t have basic items like bread, meat or milk.
Williams said, even if they did, he likely wouldn’t be able to afford it.
Williams has applied for unemployment but still hasn’t received any money from the government.
Reverend Chambers said people in her community must fight to stay alive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
These are the shelves of a grocery story in #Baltimore where many residents of 1 low-income housing community shop-shelves completely EMPTY. They can’t find things like bread, meat, milk, eggs – it’s the only store in the area in walking distance and accepting food stamps @wjz pic.twitter.com/ZgAfjyucMz
— Annie Rose Ramos (@AnnieRoseNews) April 1, 2020
“This is survival for us, as public housing tenants, this is survival,” Chambers said.
Maryland lawmakers are now demanding the release of data on coronavirus cases to address potential racial disparities.
“Racial health disparities and discrimination have always had adverse outcomes on poorer communities of color,” Delegate Nick Mosby wrote on Twitter.
Baltimore’s population is 62 percent African American, according to U.S. Census data.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, about 39,000 people in Baltimore City suffered from food insecurity. With the coronavirus pandemic, those numbers are rising.
The Maryland Food Bank is reporting a steep rise in demand for food.