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Nonprofit brings joy on Thanksgiving, distributes 600+ meals

Posted at 4:04 PM, Nov 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-26 18:17:31-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — This Thanksgiving especially, there are a lot of people who may not be spending the holiday with loved ones. A Baltimore nonprofit adapted their annual event to make sure everyone feels the love today.

"It’s very very heartwarming," said Luke.

"I want people to be happy, even if it’s just for one day or one hour or one minute," said Lonnie Walker, the founder of Joy Baltimore.

Walker said he knows the holidays can be a really difficult time for people, so for the past few years, his organization has held an 'Oh Give Thanks' party on Thanksgiving. But the pandemic meant they had to adapt, moving the party out onto the sidewalk and making deliveries across the city, serving over 600 people.

"We’re serving homeless people. We’re serving runaway and homeless youth. We’re serving LGBTQ. We’re serving people who are dealing with substance abuse. We’re serving mothers. We’re serving children. We’re serving anyone in Baltimore who needs a meal," said Walker.

Walker said they couldn’t do it without donations, from Banana Republic clothing to food and supplies.

"The Baltimore City Department of Health provided us with PPE equipment so we have over 500 kits to hand out. We got donations from Atlas Restaurants. They donate 50 gift cards to McDonalds at $20 a piece," said Walker.

His goal every year is to just make people smile.

"I want people to be happy and if I can be part of that happiness and my team can be part of that happiness... joy," said Walker.

And because of the masks you can’t see all the smiles, but they’re definitely there.

"It's that Thanksgiving home family feel you know, tradition. Obviously there's gonna be some argument later and then there’s gonna be some turkey and stuffing," said Erika.

"It shows that people care, still care. It’s a blessing. I really didn’t have anything to do today, nowhere to go so it’s was nice to be able to come around here and get something," said Satya.

"I’ve definitely had a lot of experiences in my life where I wasn’t really able to do much nice for myself and it touches my heart to see that there’s still good people out there that are trying," said Ashur.

Next, their focus turns to their big toy drive and Christmas tree lighting in December.