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More than just a meal

The history of Beans and Bread, Fells Point’s outreach center

Beans and Bread is just one of the dozens of programs St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, an independent, non-profit charitable organization, includes in its faith-based charity. Since 1976, more than one million people have benefited from Beans and Bread. Those served include the homeless, residents of shelters, or those who simply struggle to survive.

Among the services the center provides is a meal program, which offers a mid-day dinner is served from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Connected to the dining area is a learning lab and day resource center which offers computer training, mental health assessment, adult literacy and tutoring. The newest addition to Beans and Bread is the Frederick Ozanam House, a facility where devoted homeless men recovering from drug addiction work with a case manager in hopes of becoming financially independent and obtain a secure job.

Stephanie Archer-Smith, director of programs at Beans and Bread, said the outreach center earned its name in a very simple way. “Bennett Hanlon, who started this out of his home, asked a man who came to his house what he would like to eat. The man said, ‘A little beans and bread would be nice.’” The granting of this simple request was the beginning of a life of service for Hanlon and hundreds more.

St. Vincent de Paul stepped in to help and provided funding in 1994, allowing the facility to expand and meet the increasing needs for helping the homeless in Baltimore. Blue Moon Café now sits where Beans and Bread originated on Aliceanna Street.

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Beans and Bread outreach center: Learning lab and day resource center offers more than just food for the needy.

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Transcription of Interview - Larry Sigmon