On October 24, MSA students made and distributed food to those in need in Baltimore in support of Project Downtown, a program supporting homeless people in cities across the nation.
The idea of Project Downtown was taken from other schools and organizations across the country. The concept was that students would buy food stuffs, such as chips, bread, turkey, and prepare meals to distribute to homeless people in Baltimore. This event was held in order to raise awareness on the issue of hunger and expose people to the reality that homeless people face.
The MSA decided to host this event after other schools revealed it to be successful. Ahmed Mahmood, a senior political science major, explained, “we saw what other schools did and tried to shape it to fit our community.” Mahmood continued by highlighting Baltimore’s close proximity to UMBC as a main factor to implementing Project Downtown.
This was not the first time that MSA has done Project Downtown. However, they made changes from previous years. Mahmood showcased the evolution of the event by detailing how “this year we really wanted outside volunteers to get involved in the planning and marketing of the event.”
Project Downtown occurred in two separate phases.
The first phase of Project Downtown consisted of the executive board creating a plan. Khalid Muqueeth, a senior information systems major, explained “all of the volunteers gathered in the Interfaith Center and made an assembly line to make sandwiches.” He mentioned that working together created a great atmosphere.
Muqueeth emphasized that this was one of the goals of Project Downtown. Muqueeth stated, “the level of excitement among the volunteers was great to see.”
The second phase of Project Downtown was the distribution of the food. Chad McDonough detailed how “once we made all of the sandwiches we went down to Baltimore and began giving the food out to homeless people.” The club handed out turkey sandwiches, bags of chips and nutrition bars. McDonough continued by mentioning the glee on the faces of the people who were receiving the food.
The event lasted for hours as volunteers spread out across the city to ensure that they provided food to as many people as possible. Mahmood highlighted this point by saying, “we went to some rough parts of the city, and it really opened the eyes of a lot of the volunteers.”
The MSA wanted Project Downtown to shed light on the hardships that people go through everyday. Mahmood described that “the real benefit came to the people handing out the food, they were able to have more appreciation for their and witnessed how they can affect the lives of others.”
The MSA is going to host Project Downtown once again next year, and hopes the success of the event will grow.