Remembering Bea Gaddy, a Champion for the Homeless in Baltimore

Bea Gaddy (1933-2001) fed thousands of Baltimore’s homeless and hungry

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Story Transcript

EZE JACKSON: Happy Black History Month. I’m Eze Jackson, host and producer of The Whole Bushel here on the Real News Network. For the month of February, we’re gonna be celebrating Black History Month by showing you some clips of black contributions that you may not have learned about in school. Stay tuned to the Real News Network and thank you for watching.

EZE JACKSON: Today for Black History Month, we wanna highlight the life of Beatrice “Bea” Gaddy. Bea Gaddy was born in 1933 in Wake Forest, North Carolina. In 1964, she moved to Baltimore with her five children. 17 years later, she founded the Patterson Park Emergency Food Center to help provide for her family and neighbors, as well. Using her own home as a distribution center, Bea Gaddy wheeled around a shopping cart to collect donations from local churches and leftovers from store owners.

EZE JACKSON: As the word spread about her project, Ms. Bea was soon feeding long lines of people who found her doorstep. That Thanksgiving, after winning $250 from a lottery ticket, she fed 49 of her neighbors Thanksgiving dinner. The Bea Gaddy Thanks for Giving Campaign’s tradition of feeding the hungry and homeless continues today. Their annual dinner feeds up to 20,000 people and requires massive amounts of volunteers and organization.

Speaker 2: Hey, Bea Gaddy, why do you use Neighbor Care?

Bea Gaddy: I spend a lot of time helping others. It’s nice to have someone help me every now and then.

EZE JACKSON: As a no-nonsense tough advocate for the homeless, Bea Gaddy also operated a women and children’s shelter, served meals, and handed out food and clothes throughout the year to families in need. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Antioch University in 1977 and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Towson University in 1993. In 1999, Dr. Bea Gaddy won a seat as Baltimore City Councilwoman for the second district. Shortly after, she became an ordained minister so that she could marry and bury the poor at no cost to them.

EZE JACKSON: She passed away in 2001 due to a battle with breast cancer, but her legacy lives on. Her daughters organized the yearly dinner and managed many of the outreach projects she began. She’s been given the nicknames St. Bea and the Mother Teresa of Baltimore. In 2006, she was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. We salute your life and legacy today, Ms. Bea. Thank you for all you’ve done.