• Rev. Jim Muratore, Pastor

Community Risk Reduction in Hampden


"'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’"

Matthew 25:37-40

In October, a meeting of community stakeholders was held to discuss the concerns surrounding drug use in the neighborhood, note locations of activity, and raise questions about possible solutions. The meeting included representatives from the Hampden Community Council, the Hampden Village Merchants Association, the Northern District of the BPD, the Hampden Family Center, and other concerned neighbors.

At the meeting, representatives from the Baltimore City Health Department presented the Community Risk Reduction Services’ menu of resources available to communities impacted by drug addiction. Commonly referred to as the “needle exchange vans” the CRRS offers a range of services available to anyone in the community including flu and tetanus vaccinations, HIV and Hepatitis testing. After surveying the neighborhood, no location seemed appropriate for a CRRS van and instead it was determined to bring the program indoor to St. Luke’s Church on the Avenue at 800 W. 36th Street. The program will be hosted on a weekly basis and will run on Wednesday mornings from 9:30-11:30am using the entrance on Chestnut Ave. Originally scheduled to begin on February 28th, implementation will be delayed for further community outreach purposes. A new implementation date will be released as soon as possible.

After weighing concerns with the need to take proactive measures, the church council at St. Luke’s voted to approve use of our space to provide this resource to our community. We know that this is not a "silver bullet." It is one approach of many, one that we can offer to open a path to healing for individuals and for our neighborhood over the long term.

We will also be seeking support from the wider community to provide hospitality. We invite you into this opportunity to get to know our neighbors who are struggling. By fostering an environment of encouragement we hope to build the support network that will help bring health and vitality to our neighborhood’s most vulnerable.

To find out more information about the program, click here. You can also contact me directly at churchontheavenue@gmail.com. On this site, we'll be updating answers to the most pressing FAQs, and how you can get involved. We hope you will. It takes a village, as they say, fortunately, we happen to live in a great one.

#needleexchange #communityoutreach #riskreduction

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St. Luke's Church on the Avenue is a local community of the Delaware-Maryland Synod

St. Luke's Church on the Avenue

800 W. 36th Street

Baltimore, MD 21211

443.402.5828

churchontheavenue@gmail.com

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