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Economic Development

When the Reverend John Perkins visited New Song few years ago he had much to say that was good about our progress since his last visit some 10 years earlier. He saw the two hundred plus homes Habitat had completed (now 250), the new school we had built, the jobs program, etc. Much had indeed been accomplished in a decade and he was delighted to be sure. But he also said that he found it sad that upon rising in the morning, he could find no place in the community to get a morning paper or a cup of coffee much less something to eat. He remarked that as good as the progress New Song had made was...it was time to take the next step. He said, "you've all heard it said that if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. That if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime. But I say that if we are to be truly successful in making this a viable community...we must own the pond the fish live in".

New Song Urban Ministries (NSUM) took it's first step in this very important area of community development with the opening of Gerry's Goods in December of 2008. In partnership with local Sandtown resident Gerry Palmer we saw the first corner store owned by a resident open for business in nearly four decades. Sandtown residents, and Dr. Perkins, can now get a cup of gourmet coffee and perhaps a pastry or other tasty treat knowing that their hard earned money is being spent in a place owned by one of their neighbors. That money spent at Gerry's Goods stays in the community to be redistributed over and over. It's a small step but an important one. In addition to very good cup of coffee one can sit at a table and chat with friends while being served by wonderful staff face to face, not through a turnstile or sheet of plexiglas. In addition to providing Gerry with a means to support himself and his family it also employs several community residents as a  "for profit" self sustaining enterprise and that's the key. Sustainable business enterprise is what will take us to the next level. By that we mean joining other Baltimore communities in contributing to the health, wealth and welfare of our city in a viable and sustainable way.

Stay tuned as we keep you updated on further economic developments in Sandtown.




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