MCR Around Town: Baldwin Center

Over 35 years ago, the Baldwin Avenue United Methodist Church opened the Baldwin Center to provide food and recreation to the underserved youth of Pontiac. Today, the Center is an independent non-profit organization that has expanded its outreach as well as the variety of services offered.

Because many of their after school activities, and food and clothing shopping events involve in-person care and attention, the Center has had to either postpone or adapt them to preserve the health and safety of its clients and staff.

Here is what is open and running:

The Family Soup Kitchen
Monday, Wednesday, Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m

The Center’s traditional restaurant, self-service style soup kitchen is now a curbside service of bagged lunches. There is, however, limited seating outside for those who would like to share a socially-distanced communal meal.

“Traditionally, our traditional soup kitchen served between 180 and 250 lunches,” Director of Community Engagement, Heather Dueñas said. “At our peak, which was at the very beginning of the virus outbreak, we began serving around 350 lunches a week.”

Help is needed: they currently need bottled water, brown bags, individually bagged snacks like chips or cookies, packaged lunch meat, and sliced sandwich bread for lunches. Items can be dropped at the soup kitchen Monday, Wednesday, Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Clothes Closet
By appointment only. Call (248) 332-6101 to schedule an appointment

Although the clothing shop has closed temporarily to focus on the community’s food needs, the Center welcomes critical clothing requests by phone so that arrangements can be made.

K-12 Summer Camp
July 6th – July 31st, 2020. New openings every week by registering here.

This year, the Summer Camp has adapted to the new reality by going virtual. The Center worked with many student interns from Oakland University in order to make it possible. It is free and it involves tutoring, educational activities, and a lot of games. All through Zoom.

The camp has gathered 20 attendees already.

“We can sign new people every week and they can come to the Baldwin Center to pick up the material that will be used, all for free,” Dueñas said. “If you sign up on Friday, you can start as early as the next Monday.”

Money Donation
Donations of any amount are accepted here.

Despite all the successful community support the Center has been able to continue offering, there is an increased financial need to help support their supplies and staff. In an open letter posted in late March on their website, they said it was expected that the virus would increase their costs in at least $10,000.

“Any financial assistance, even the smallest amount, will help us meet the rising tide of need in our community with reinforced care and compassion,” they wrote.

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