BALTIMORE (WJZ) — At least a dozen sites across Baltimore gave out free groceries Friday for those struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Eleven Baltimore recreation centers handed boxes of groceries on Friday, the city’s parks and recreation department said. Beginning at noon, people were able to pick up boxes filled with shelf-stable food.


Henderson Hopkins School in east Baltimore distributed 21,000 pounds of food Friday, its fifth Friday distributing groceries and meals to residents.

“Families are hurting,” Henderson Hopkins Principal Peter Kannam said Friday at the distribution site in front of the school on Ashland Avenue. “Your heart drops and sinks. I haven’t seen anything in my lifetime — I’m 48 years old, I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime.”

The line of cars stretched around the corner onto North Patterson Park Avenue well before the 12 p.m. start time.

“Here’s really a need. It wraps around the building,” Lavera Jackson said as she waited for groceries. “Even if you’re still employed, you have people that you need to look out for.”

The distribution comes as the U.S. unemployment hit 14.7 percent Friday.

“I have never seen anything like this, man. This is a terrible situation, man,” Marco Brewer said while waiting for food. “A lot of people losing (their) jobs, a lot (of) people (are) struggling, man.”

World Central Kitchen, Johns Hopkins, and the Maryland Food Bank contributed to the weekly food distribution, with the assistance of the Maryland National Guard.

The groceries are intended to last the week for a family.

“It’s very hard to access markets and the one supermarket that’s here really runs out,” Jackson said.

The distribution is held weekly on Fridays from noon until the food runs out.

World Central Kitchen will distribute meals to all who are welcome Saturday, May 9, in Lot H of Camden Yards from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Paul Gessler