When Catholic Charities of Baltimore opened a soup kitchen called Our Daily Bread on West Franklin Street in 1981, the plan envisioned feeding about 125 of the city's neediest people each day. Today that number has grown to an average of 650 people a day -- a jump that reflects the worsening plight of the urban poor and the yawning chasm between affluence and misery opened during the go-go decade of the 1980s.
As one of the most effective, private charitable agencies in the city, Our Daily Bread has served literally hundreds of thousands of meals over the past 10 years. To its doors have come the homeless, the destitute, the down-on-their-luck and the despairing, and none has been turned away. Now Our Daily Bread is asking for help from the city it has served so well. It needs to expand the size of its facility to meet the increased demand. This week begins a major fund-raising drive with a goal of $1 million to build a new, 100-seat facility next to the city garage going up at Franklin and Cathedral streets. Organizers hope to raise three-quarters of the money from endowments and corporate donations, and the rest from small contributions. If ever there were a cause deserving of support, it is Our Daily Bread. Baltimoreans can express their thanks for the many years of compassionate service performed by Our Daily Bread and its dedicated volunteer staff by giving generously.