Supporting Sarah's Hope

In 2014 our Baltimore office selected Sarah's Hope, a 24-hour emergency shelter in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore City, as our local Touch charity and has since devised a series of activities and fundraisers to support the charity's homeless women and children.

Sandtown-Winchester, located in West Baltimore, has long been plagued by severe unemployment and poverty. According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, the area accounts for some of the city's grimmest statistics: "The 72-block neighborhood is part of a section of West Baltimore in which about half the children live below the poverty line, nearly a quarter of adults are out of work, and the homicide rate is more than double the citywide average." The 2015 events surrounding the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray have resulted in increased awareness of the issues besetting this neighborhood, and we are prouder than ever to continue our efforts in support of the community.

One of Baltimore's fundraisers for Sarah's Hope - the Summer Celebration Cookout Lunch and Jeans Day - asked employees to donate US$5 to enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs with all the traditional sides and fixings and casual dress for the day. Attendees were also asked to consider an additional donation to help purchase camp supplies such as sunscreen, children's swim shoes, beach towels, and snacks, or to donate these items in kind. After providing a portion of the proceeds to our global Touch charity, the remaining funds supported Sarah's Hope in the purchase of camp supplies for an eight-week summer camp for homeless children ages 5 to 12, many of whom live at the shelter.

Earlier in the year, the office hosted a pancake breakfast, through which 37 lawyers and staff members donated towards the purchase of all five Pack 'n Play portable cribs listed on Hope House's wish list. Given the widespread response, the office exceeded its fundraising goal and, with the glut of funds, purchased other high-need items on the charity's list, including items ranging from hygiene and fitness products for the women to games and furniture for the kids.

The office also hosted a School Lunch event, featuring disposable lunch trays and a throwback meal comparable to our old school lunches, in which donations were collected to purchase school supplies for the shelter's children.

In addition to providing financial contributions with the firm's match during 2014, our volunteers donated 25 Halloween costumes to ensure the children could take part in fun festivities and provided 30 bags of blankets, sheets, and toys, as well as Target gift cards, to support the families before the Christmas holiday.

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