Crab Cake Row: Caitlyn Kirby talks food insecurity and the Catonsville Emergency Assistance pantry

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Caitlyn Kirby talks food insecurity and the good work of the Catonsville Emergency Assistance pantry at State Fare on “A Cup Of Soup Or Bowl Week” for the Maryland Food Bank.


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Nestor J. Aparicio, Caitlyn Kirby

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:05

Welcome back. And as our final segment of day four, we’re at Catonsville at State Fair. I’ve been giving these things away. I’m in the My last batch. Thank you Roz. We’re going to be Hollywood casino on Sunday night for the big game. I’m gonna play some blackjack because I’m feeling it and I smell a lottery scratch offs giveaway. We’ll be doing this up at Hollywood casino during the game as well. Friday at Pappus. All day nine to five it is the end of my struggle. It is crab cake row, a cup Super Bowl. Lots of folks will come by since my wife didn’t send me out with fruit and cereal this morning. She’s like, your state fair. You get breakfast the state fair. And I’m like, Yeah, but I gotta start at nine o’clock the next day. I’m eating steak and eggs at like 930 throwing it down. I ate like a horse. I haven’t eaten anything honey soup. The thing that I didn’t know about doing 32 hours of live radio is how chapped my lips would be. I feel like Napoleon Dynamite my lips hurt real bad. It Caitlin Kirby is our final guest. She has no idea what she’s doing here other than like the wacky radio guy brought us stuff. Kingsville emergency assistance. All I’ve had are people doing good work here. We began the day with Carmen del Cueto from the Maryland food bank here because he’s on this side of town. We did an hour we laughed. We cried. It was you know, we talked about a lot of things but food insecurity and take care of people. So what you do every day, right every day this is this is what you do at Gainesville emergency assistance.

Caitlyn Kirby  01:36

is yes. So I’m the new executive director at Catonsville emergency assistance. I’m

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:40

very avid on the west side. Yeah, walk here right.

Caitlyn Kirby  01:44

I could walk here Yeah, I could walk from here. I could walk from my house I’m right here in Gainesville. I work and live here Ville girl my children go to school right here in Catonsville schools and I’m really happy to be able to serve the community.

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:56


I would say I always wanted to be a comic, but I’m not happy Dundalk, owl. Keynes was such a beautiful community, right and such history and music and, you know, Evan dumps down this crazy diner in the middle of a friendlies and look at it in you know, and guapo Beaumont and our partners and the things we do over here. This is sort of the originator along with fadeless, who’s moving next door and we began the week with them downtown, and they’re going to have the fishmongers daughter on the other end of the parking lot here. I’m from Dundalk, you know, when it’s not, you know, we have more challenges with the plant and I was accosted co today talking about that with some Oh, geez. And it’s just such a vibrant community that everyone wants their canes was a shining star. I mean, Johnny Oh, would say like, we all look to kittens will say what did we do there? Let’s do that in Parkville. Let’s do that in Taos, you know, and Charleston will be a great example. They have a college you have a college adjacent but not downtown Kingsville really is a place where I think Well, everybody canes will eat pretty okay. I don’t think of it as being rich, but I don’t think of it as like food insecure, or they would have the same problems we have everywhere else. Right? Literally, we

Caitlyn Kirby  03:05

do have those same problems here in Gainesville. And actually, that’s one of the reasons why I love working with this mission. Because actually 33% of Catonsville residents suffer from some type of food insecurity, which is third, a third. Yes, our population and that’s really just too many. That’s really just 21228. So yeah, so there’s a lot of folks here that to me. Wow, that is a shocking number and it’s something that we really need to address. So that’s why I do this work. What work do you do? Well, I run our food pantry on Bloomsbury Avenue. We are at 25 Bloomsbury Avenue right down here in Catonsville, we serve about 450 families households I should say a year and we provide monthly food assistance so we are a food emergency situation so some of our clients are those who have fallen on tough times have lost work need that kind of gap to fill to fill their food needs others stay with us for years if they need to. So we actually do serve clients by appointment or neighbors I should say we like to call neighbors by appointment our neighbors make an appointment between nine and one and come and pick up food for their families based on how large their families are. And whether they live in our service area, which is mostly to one two to eight.

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:22

I’ve learned so much this week, right? Just about all of this and the shaming part and children and education and and the and the word pantry right? We my dad went to a soup kitchen you know pantry yeah with the pantry pride when I shop when I was a kid you know they became Mars that became wise right? My sponsors And by the way I get the scoop from wise right like that. But why is inspiring because I was added I was out shopping one night and channel two was doing a thing for the Maryland food bank for Carmen. And I told him I said that was back in November little seeds got planted to make this weird Last week happened for me, but I guess part of it was just trying to learn. And someone said something to me I think was Christie Greene from Maryland Coalition on Tuesday said, you know, children, when they come through, they get to shop, it’s a marketplace for them that it’s not here, take your bag, right. Like, there’s a whole different level of of dignity that goes along with you know, my father never bragged about starving as a kid, but he told me about it, you know what I mean? And, and 1929 a chicken in every pot, and you know, the depression and all that 100 years ago, I guess 95 years later, here I am the offspring of someone that said, you got $1 in your pocket, put some food in your belly rub up, put your food, your belly. You know, I’ve done things where we picked up boxes of food, people have dropped it off, my radio station used to be piled up during the holidays, because my house would do this coat drive than a food drive. The efficiency of doing this and people dropping things off. Carmen even said you give me $1 I can buy more with it. And then you can buy at the store with it. Even though we love these kinds of events, people have been more inclined to maybe write a check the whole part of a neighborhood place like that, what is your pantry? Like? What’s what is the experience for a family who has been humbled in need, maybe had a job, they’re not on the dole, man, they’re not trying to take, they’re just trying to live right? I mean, and live with dignity. And it’s already, if they have that sense of pride, they come to your door already feeling half of themselves and you don’t want to deteriorate that you want to lift them up?

Caitlyn Kirby  06:36

Absolutely not. So I am running the organization. But I have two wonderful staff members who have become friends with these neighbors that we serve. Um, they understand their dietary issues, they tried to provide them with things that are going to work for their family, it


Nestor J. Aparicio  06:54

was when he said he eats this

Caitlyn Kirby  06:56

amazing what my staff can do and how they really, you know, become become friends with these neighbors that we’re serving. But kid that

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:03

didn’t know I didn’t like mustard for 30 years. Oh, yeah, you know, I mean, you know, it is amazing. If you care enough, right? You

Caitlyn Kirby  07:10


do. And we really, we really do at Gainesville emergency assistance, we really care. But one of our challenges is that we have a very small building that we’re working out of, and we really can’t provide a choice opportunity for our neighbors. That’s a goal of ours, we’ve actually purchased a second building right next door to the one that we’re in now. And we’d really like to do a large build out to make sure that we can actually offer that choice to our neighbors because to your point, being able to have more of a grocery store like feel for these families who are Yeah, that are that are going through this food insecure time is really it’s all about dignity. And it’s all about making sure that they can get back on their feet and get back into those regular grocery stores and having that that situation would be ideal for us. Right now. We are giving bags to families. We do. Thank all of Gainesville, and all of our, you know, local people that donate or we mostly private donations is what we’re looking at right now for the food, but we also are trying to do some more targeted donations. So like when we’re out of pasta, we started on social media saying hey, this is what we need Wednesday, we need pasta, we need pork and beans, we need those kinds of things. So we’re trying to be more connected to the community. And actually businesses like Steve fair, allowing us to do that. So it was basically

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:23

Tuesday, I looked over the table and I started saying peanut butter black beans and and a lot of soups, you know, Ken and I thought and then Carmen came here and parroted everything I’ve remembered seeing on the table like our people are paying attention. Yeah, they know what you know what to donate the right way to donate it and can fishes and can chickens and those kinds of things. Caitlin Kirby’s here Catonsville emergency assistance? Is this all you do is food or you do more? Um,

Caitlyn Kirby  08:51

no, actually, we do a utility assistance for families who are having a hard time paying their BG and E bill. We have some assistance that way. And we were prior to COVID offering eviction assistance as well, because of eviction assistance, a moratorium on evictions, during COVID, you know that we weren’t receiving those requests very much. However, that has been lifted, and we are receiving those eviction requests as well. So we’re gonna go back to offering that service hopefully by the middle of this year. So that’s a family who is having a hard time meeting their rent, they can come in, they provide that documentation, and we offer them some a merchant assistance that way as well. So those are the three pillars of what of what we do offer. I cancel emergency assistance food, however, being the largest step though.

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:33

Well, girls through bank recommended you once you’re coming to get the couple boxes we had here today, and I do appreciate that there during the week. It’s been amazing. I mean, we had a lot of stuff. It cost us on Tuesday. We had a good amount of stuff. At Coco’s, we had a nice amount of stuff and fails. today. We have a couple things here. We’re going to throw your way as well and I’m carrying him down the street because I know you’re around a corner Bloomsburg the Maryland Food Bank, I talked to Carmen and LinkedIn you can look aren’t a whole lot but they support you. Right? And, and this is the thing that I’ve learned from St. Francis of Assisi and St. John’s and Essex and just going around the beltway and being downtown and I had Baltimore outreach all day. We had a beautiful lady. No offense to you, she might have been the highlight of my week, race and hope mission. She reminded me of my mother, she she’d worked there 48 years. She was a beautiful woman and real woman of work, you know what I mean? I’m real. And but but they rely on the food bank and they serve men in the evenings downtown. And all of this and we talk about the Orioles, ravens, different sport, you know, little food insecurity and Bruce Springsteen, every time he tours, he does things for the food bank, at the end of every show ever anywhere in the world. He’s trying to encourage people to give to the food bank locally. It’s such a universal thing. And when I put this thing together, Mike my kid was the inspiration for this on Thanksgiving. I said, I you know, I did 27 Real Super Bowls. And and I shouldn’t be in Las Vegas right now. You can rely on that Las Vegas right now. And it’s through no incrimination of myself. But I wanted to do something good this week. And my son said, It’s Super Bowl week, you should do something around Maryland crab soup, because you do the crab cake tours. You do crab soup. Oh your places give me a great cream of crab soup here. It’s they feel they’ve added Maryland crab soup to the menu. So I came up with a cup of Super Bowl and then hit me my father and son soup lines and like it all kind of like, Ah, I gotta do this thing. But the food bank and what they do in communities, it’s just an amazing thing to see that the word pantry has really struck me this week is something that last week I wouldn’t have. I mean, I know what did it but I wouldn’t have used that term in that way. It’s more of a modern term of dignity, I think.

Caitlyn Kirby  11:48

Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. And that’s what we’re doing. And certainly we’re thankful for our Maryland Food Bank partners. Actually, if you see our van around town, it has a big logo on that says that we are proud partners of the Maryland food bank. They give us guidance, they give us assistance and they provide us with food at $1 amount that we couldn’t otherwise probably meet the needs of our of our of our neighbors. So we also do partner with businesses like state fair, I wanted to mention the fact that state fair actually donated with several other local businesses for Thanksgiving this year. 140 turkeys to give to our neighbors at sea. I

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:22

saw Evan hittin that out. Yeah, it was really awesome.

Caitlyn Kirby  12:26


Nestor J. Aparicio  12:27


Well, it’s a it’s a beautiful community. It’s

Caitlyn Kirby  12:28

a beautiful community. And you know, what ended up happening was the day that we gave away those turkeys was the grossest day outside, it rained and poured and some of our neighbors didn’t come out. So we ended up with some extra turkeys. So what we did was, we took some to the west side shelter, Westside shelters, actually on the campus of Spring Grove, here in Catonsville, um, it’s a men’s shelter, and they actually cook there. So they were able to cook for their people, their delicious turkey, too. And then and then we also were able to give some of the extra turkeys to My Brother’s Keeper as well, which is right on this border of the city. So we are all about, you know, making sure that our neighbors and all the neighbors around us are not at all not going

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:10

to somebody’s bellies but absolutely absolutely Janesville emergency assistance. You can find them at Catonsville. Kingsville I’m glad you’re helping me. I’m glad you’re helping them. I’m glad I’ve been helping you and Keith and good folks over here, too. I look more now. You made it.

Caitlyn Kirby  13:28

Congratulations. Well, you made it through cadence.



Not the first of the last time. We have not we’ll do that. Our friends at the

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:39

Maryland lottery have been super awesome to give it by the way. I feel like Oprah you get a lottery ticket. Somebody texted me Tom York was here promoting his MS run across the country. He’s crazy. He’s doing five marathons in a row. And for Ms. Does think he was here early. He sent me a picture of his winning ticket. So I don’t know even though what he won. I haven’t added it all up, buddy. We had a winner. Thanks to everybody that came by today. I would read the whole list but I’m losing my voice and I just don’t want to go. Yeah.


All right. All right. All right.

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:11

Thank you. Appreciate Caitlin Kirby joining us here. Thanks, Keith. Evan, everybody you listeners. I’m out of here. I’ll be back tomorrow.

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