Crab Cake Row: Reaching out to men on the streets of Baltimore and the good work of Grace and Hope Mission on Gay Street

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The work of helping men at Grace and Hope Mission on Gay Street with Karen Harp, who was Nestor’s favorite guest on “Crab Cake Row: A Cup Of Soup Or Bowl Week” from Faidley’s in Lexington Market.


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Karen Harp, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:03

Welcome back. We are wn S T am 1570, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive. We’re doing some special. We’re live. We haven’t been live in 10 years. I’m frazzled. I haven’t been to the bathroom since 8am. And I’m holding it peacefully right now. It is a cup of Super Bowl and it’s crab cake row. We are at fade Lee’s at Lexington market. People are coming in off PAC Street and eating these beautiful crab cakes down here. We’re gonna be in the new location soon enough. We thought we’d be here today. But we’re not. It’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery. I got the 10 times the cash. I’m giving these away to all of our guests here on the program today. Also our friends at when donation 8669 donation and Jiffy Lube multi care and inspired by wise markets and royal farms for seeing that they do things for the Maryland food bank. So what we’re asking folks to do if you’re driving down today to fails your Costas on Tuesday. If you’re Coco’s on Wednesday, Thursday, we’re going to be at State Fair Friday. We’re going to be at Pappas, we’re asking you to bring goods for the Maryland Food Bank, we’ll take cash, but we have a lasagna over here I got chicken noodle soup chicken and Starr make me hungry. I’m gonna get a crab cake that are families and some mac and cheese. So for the Maryland food bank, so please come out and do that. We will give you a cup of soup or bowl. It is Super Bowl week. We are not on radio row. We are on crabcake row, Kevin Hart this year, I have driven by the grace and hope mission. More times and maybe I’ve driven past anything because I lived downtown for 19 years. I used Gay Street as a direct corridor for for getting to 83 Cutting Baltimore street going past City Hall and past the police precinct. And you are almost sort of kitty corner to the police precinct right around the corner from what and I know you’re not an old person, but I am in Baltimore. The block is what we would say right around


Karen Harp  01:56

the block. Call it How are you? I’m fine. Thank you.

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:00

It is beautiful to have you out. You’re one of the guys I don’t know you I know a lot of our guests thus far today. And you came recommended for by some folks and said we should feature the grace and hope mission, I think going by your cross. And there’s just it’s the most beautiful one the more beautiful signs in the city. I think it looks like it’s been there. 100 years. It’s a gigantic white cross. And across the cross it says grace and hope mission. And I’ve taken pictures of it many times because I think it’s it looks like something at out of out of a coffee table magazine that sign but it reminds me of Guys and Dolls and the mission there right and obviously that was that was not like your mission is legitimate. They were a little more covert their mission to Guys and Dolls. Right. But But I don’t know what you do. I don’t do this minute. I didn’t Google it. I said I’m gonna learn when Karen harp shows up from the grace and hope mission. I know where you are. And but I don’t know what and I didn’t know you were in business. I thought it may have been a sign from a leftover age. Right. But you are a real thing. The grace and hope mission.

Karen Harp  03:08

Yes, we are. We’ve been functioning we started at reg reg Lee street 1914. We are at Forsyth gay streets since 1917. And of course it was a club in its day. But praise God, we use it now for mission work for working with the homeless and

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:30


come on tell me that give me a history story. Like,

Karen Harp  03:33

I guess like around the corner of the block. Really? Yeah. Okay.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:37

So it was it was a bar was an establishment, right? It had a liquor license at one point. Now it is a

Karen Harp  03:44

nice to have a bowling alley in the basement, and they ripped it up and made 11 tables out of it so we can use it downstairs. And so we’ve been functioning there for all these years. We’re celebrating 110 years in the city of Baltimore.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:59

How long have you worked at the grace, grace and

Karen Harp  04:01

hope mission over 49 years?

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:04

They sent me down today. Okay, so I start at the beginning here, because I’m 55. So we’re talking 19 Seven. So how did you get involved? Well,

Karen Harp  04:15


when I was just mid teen, as we are preteen years ago, I’m from Norfolk, Virginia, and we have a mission there. And a friend of mine invited me there and I learned Sunday school lessons and I learned about the Lord and eventually accepted the Lord and my guidance was not to follow what was laying on my heart. But the Lord called me into the ministry in 1974 came into the mission work.

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:43

So who comes to you? How do people come to you and who How can my audience help? Or if my audience has someone distressed that needs help? Well,

Karen Harp  04:52

our doors are open five evenings a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and In the cross is on, it’s beautiful when it’s lit, and the most beautiful

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:04

sign in the city and you know what it represented? So this is enlightening to me I’m finally getting the learn what it was right.

Karen Harp  05:14

And we we have services but after the service, we have bag lunches, hot drinks, we have clothing available where people donate clothing, the majority that come are men, we do have some women, but being, you know, on the streets and all they’re walking in this side and the other, we work with them and we keep in, we let them know we care about them. We learn their name, we don’t say hey, you we call them by name. We talked to them by name, welcomed them by name, so that they know that, like the Bible says whosoever are welcomed into our establishment. We’re nondenominational. Anybody that wants to come in. They’re welcome to come in. And we welcome them. And we’ve been doing this for all these years and up the east coast of the other missions we had.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:05

What happens in the evening, someone comes in, you said your 5pm. Doors open at seven 7pm. So common 7pm is Would people find something that felt like a church mass? Or would they find something?

Karen Harp  06:20

It is a gospel service? Okay, yes. And they enjoy taking the hymn books and they enjoy getting involved in the singing. Sometimes we use them as solos or duets, and they’re eager to do that. And we even use them to act out Christmas programs in the children. I work with the children and I do that with them for Easter and Christmas. And whatever Bible story I’m on. We make a program out of it to introduce it to the adults.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:50


How many folks is Grace admission service in any given year?

Karen Harp  06:53

Oh my goodness. I mean, since COVID, our numbers are down or about we have like 21 or so in our Sunday school, and we can get to 23 at the highest since COVID.

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:08

Children talking about Sunday school now this is adult Saturday, Sunday School

Karen Harp  07:12

is 21 mix with children and their parents come with them. And the evening services are mostly adults once in a while we get a couple of children in and we present things to them like we have instruments on the side that kids like to play the tambourines and Morocco’s


Nestor J. Aparicio  07:35

Yes, I was a noisemaker as a child, I know you find that hard to believe

Karen Harp  07:39

pots and pans.

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:42

The handbell choir. And then we had the recorder the little flute, plastic flute, right. I have those. Yeah, of course you do. And the bells and the bells, right? Yeah. So children

Karen Harp  07:54

love it. But our mission work is first priority to give them the gospel, but we meet their physical needs. We try to get the clothing in people donate, and then we feed them. But we’re so so thankful for the food bank, because we go there to purchase foods for the pantry that we have. And people call light to one one to get the referral to sent to us. And they come and pick up the packages. But it’s through the food bank that we get the majority of foods that we need

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:31

when we’re gathering stuff for you here today. So we found Monday, every day this week, the Maryland Food Bank has sent someone and they told me that they were going to send folks at 440 But you’re here earlier today in the downtime so the Maryland food bank services and trying to keep this week where it costs us and Dundalk on Tuesday, Wednesday we’re going to be a Coco’s and laurelville Thursday, we’re going to be on the west side over a state fair and Catonsville. We got a great group out there. And then Friday, we’re going to be up at the Pappas in Cockeysville. But all of the Maryland food banks work, they try to work through local organizations like us. So when you give to the Maryland Food Bank, you’re like, well do people go out to the food now the food bank distributes it in neighborhoods. And the grace note mission is one of those places. Yes,

Karen Harp  09:15

it is. And then when we give it out, we have it four times a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, as long as they call and we set it up and then they depending it could be a single person, it could be a big family. And we give accordingly, you know, to the numbers and so forth. How

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:36

long is the food bank been? All along from the very beginning? From the

Karen Harp  09:39

very beginning? We’ve been with the food bank. Gosh,

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:43

I’m learning so much this week. Well, US Catholic Charities are only a day one but by the time we get to the end of the week, there’s just so many people in the city lifting people up and working hard and I think we all see the challenges right I mean, especially your location I’ve been you know, I we know the city has problems but It also has people like us stepping up in organizations that step up to help people.

Karen Harp  10:04

That’s what that’s what we feel on their spiritual realm, but also the physical realm, because they need somebody that cares about them, to talk to them as a person, not because they’re down and out that that doesn’t matter. Because I come from a family of 13. And I know what a want is. And many times many times things, you know, are on the downside and from work for people who wanted to donate to different establishments, and so forth. My family as I was growing up, wouldn’t know about that. Only through other friends, other organizations that they came and gave food to our family when we were growing up. When

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:50

we talk about what we’re doing here for the food bank all week and putting it into action. You see this every single day. Right? Right? Well, if you ever driven by the grace and hope mission, you would remember it, you would make the left on Gay Street, pretty much where like the Chick fil A and then you know that areas, and you go off and it’s right on the left side. And it’s just beautiful sign that I’ve seen forever. And I never really knew what happened there. And I was delighted when the food bank folks went Joanna for the food banks that were sending great grace and hope mission over I’m like, Oh, I get to learn what that is today. So you remind me of my mother. So like, I would listen to you robbing my mother’s sister and she was tougher. My aunt Eleanor, will you look like my Annelle or you resemble her. So I got I’m watching my P’s and Q’s with you. So for folks out online, or they want to stop or they want to donate and do something for you. What can they do for you our population?

Karen Harp  11:41

Well, like we say, you know, the greatest thing is donate to the food bank so that they can branch

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:46

right here. This was the money I got from wise markets perfect. So

Karen Harp  11:50

that they could they know how to rear it. You know, I think it like an octopus with all the arms that stretch out, they know how to reach these other organizations get it to you, right? And we go, we sometimes get it delivered, or sometimes we go on, we pick it up. So we’re thankful for that. And also, when our grace and hope mission first started here in Baltimore, it was two ladies that came from Ohio led by the Lord, they started with only $13 in their pocket, used it at the why in our old style. Way back when we used to pump organ, we use trumpets, and we were out on the street for donations. And the Lord has


Nestor J. Aparicio  12:31

a little bit like Guys and Dolls playing music very much that way him that’s where it began. That’s where it began

Karen Harp  12:38

singing though, right? Yes, the hymns and playing the instruments. But now through the years things have changed, but the Lord is still the same. But we’re thankful for the food bank. We work with the food bank in New York City. We have it in Norfolk, Virginia. So I’m very familiar with relaxing

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:56

going coming in your normal Karen RPC, or she’s grace and hope Michigan on behalf of our friends at the Maryland food bank, they will accept cash there as well. But we’re doing a cup of soup or bowl was real simple. You come down, you bring goods for the Maryland Food Bank that benefit folks like our friends here at the grace and hope mission. And we will give you a free cup or bowls and fade these because they ain’t stingy around here. They’re just going to bolt they don’t know from a cop here. I was in Costas, I did the morning show last Thursday to promote the week Fox 45 and get up early in the morning went over there and everybody Tom and Patrice everybody was rulemaking they were real nice to us. And we had the food there. And we got over there and it was in the morning and we started talking about like what we’re doing this week and all this other stuff. And I said, you know this, this has been like an enlightening thing to meet new people and to dedicate an entire week to this because I’ve done individual segments, but I figured by the end of the week, we’re gonna start up here I’m gonna meet some new people. So okay, you’re my first new guest first timer. And you solved a mystery to me after 20 years so glad to tell now. I will no evening seven o’clock, five nights a week. Right? Mass hymnal help people feed people? Give him a hand up. Right? Is that it?

Karen Harp  14:15


That’s it. All right.

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:16

I think I got the mission statement of the grace and hope mission. Amen. Well, thanks for coming on appreciation. I appreciate Karen harp. You can find her down on Gay Street. You can find them online as well. And certainly if you want to help them, the Maryland Food Bank is the way to do that. And yeah, Pete PD cost this last week. He brought me a bowl and a cup and he gave me a thing this big. He said, This is our cup of coffee. So that’s not a cop. That’s a bowl. And he said no, this is a bowl and that’s not a bowl. That’s a VAT is what that is So cost is tomorrow, Wednesday. Coco’s Thursday. We’re going to be overstate fair Catonsville and then on Friday up at a Papist but if you’re in the neighborhood, and you’re downtown, I’ve got a stack group here the rest of the afternoon when he brought find us here from curio and foreign daughter. Hi, we’re gonna be joined by James Parker bond from living classrooms foundation they do a lot in the city as well. I’ve done a lot with them. It’s a big afternoon for me I have been Dasia former ravens runningback champion for Super 35 team. He will be here on behalf of the turnaround folks. So more charities add more great stories add more community ahead. More nice people like Karen Harper it looks like my aunt Eleanor. We call her aunt or she took me camping in the summer 78 down in Georgia. It was the best really one of my memorable times in my life. My aunt Eleanor, so you remind me of her wasn’t bad. We’ll take a break. I’m gonna get a crab cake I’m gonna get a bowl of soup. And if you leave here you don’t get the macaroni and cheese. You made a mistake here. I’m telling this crab cakes on the door. Get the mac and cheese you’ll love it. I’m Nestor we are wn st am 1570 Tas Baltimore be after the Maryland lottery window nation our friends at Jiffy Lube. We’re getting it done. It’s a cup of Super Bowl. It’s crab cake row. Stay with us.

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