Flush with two vans of food and $1,200 raised at a benefit concert Friday, Baltimore's Bea Gaddy Family Center is ready for its annual Thanksgiving dinner, organizers said.
Michael Austin, a jazz musician who spent 27 years behind bars for a city murder conviction that was overturned in early 2002, said he used to watch Bea Gaddy on television in prison and was moved by her generosity. This year, he put together a benefit concert and said he plans to do another one next fall.
"It was the first time that I've ever experienced something so great that I had something to do with," Austin said.
About 150 people attended, bringing along the entry fee of a minimum of $5 and five canned goods.
For more than 25 years, Bea Gaddy and her nonprofit organization have fed thousands of families searching for a hot holiday meal. Gaddy died of breast cancer in 2001, but the tradition continues.
Last year, charity workers served about 32,000 meals at the Patterson Park Recreational Center.
The center also sends its families home with a few day's worth of food supplies. Connie Bass, director of the center, said she still needs take-home food, such as canned meats and canned vegetables.
Donations can be dropped off at the Bea Gaddy Center, 425 N. Chester St. in East Baltimore, anytime through Thanksgiving morning.