Bea Gaddy's folks swept into the Hampton Inn in Glen Burnie and leftless than an hour later with arms full of sheets, towels and blankets.
But that was just fine with the hotel management.
The Baltimore activist for the homeless was invited to stop by Friday afternoon to pick up a truckload of linens. She couldn't make it, but sent a group of volunteers from her shelter to pick up a pile of white sheets and almost-new blankets.
"In the hotel business, ifone little spot gets on a sheet, we get rid of it," said Kevin Kuhl,assistant manager of the 160-room hotel on Ritchie Highway. "We decided to give them to Bea Gaddy because we were all familiar with her and knew she could use them."
Gaddy is best known for her annual Thanksgiving dinner for the poor. She began her traditional sit-down dinner for the homeless in 1981, after she won $290 with a 50-cent lottery ticket. Two months ago, she served a record 12,000 needy, elderlyand homeless people.
Gaddy runs a 35-bed homeless shelter and twosmaller halfway houses in Baltimore. She wants to expand her Bea Gaddy Center on North Chester Avenue to keep up with the growing number of homeless.
"That linen will come in handy," she said Friday morning. "We're going to keep some of the sheets for our center and save some of the blankets to give out on the coldest nights. It's been a terrible winter."
Once homeless and penniless herself, the 58-year-old is devoted to her work, running a soup kitchen, giving blankets to those on
the streets. She said she's been thankful for aid from all sides of society, from church volunteers to corporate sponsors.
But Gaddy said the work only begins with feeding and sheltering thehomeless.
"I wish I had a place to educate these people, so people can live and have on-the-job training," she said. "I wish I had a huge place, enough room for everybody and to do the kind of programs Iwould like to do."