College Park community steps up in a time of need
By: Sam Draddy
When a large storm touched down in College Park on July 12, residents of Attick Towers lost power. To make matters worse, downed trees on cars surrounding the senior living apartments on Rhode Island Avenue made it hard for residents to leave or even have essentials delivered. According to the National Weather Service, winds in the College Park area reached speeds of up to 90 mph. The storm caused major damage throughout the city, totaling cars, damaging homes and leaving countless residents and businesses without power. Several local organizations stepped up to ensure that residents of Attick Towers were safe.
Bonnie McClellan, a Route One Communities Care representative, received a call from Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, director of the Office of Community Engagement at the University of Maryland. Aparicio Blackwell asked for assistance; Attick Towers residents were in dire need of food. Route One Communities Care partners with local restaurants to distribute as many as 500 meals every week to people living along the Route 1 Corridor.
“I contacted the people at Route One Communities Care (ROCC), and they had already ordered 100 meals that day to be delivered somewhere else,” McClellan said. “They were able to shift that and take them to Attick Towers instead, which was perfect, because we couldn’t have gotten a restaurant at that time to suddenly make 100 meals.”
A number of ROCC’s community partners responded rapidly to the need, including Carlos Alvarado, owner of Cocineros and Taqueria Habanero. Alvarado provided 30 meals and Route One Communities Care provided 100 more that they had in reserve. College Park Meals on Wheels also contributed, bringing the total to 160 meals for Attick Towers.
“My restaurants are always open for anyone in need of support in the community, especially older or disabled people. If they ever reach out to me, I will provide any assistance needed,” Alvarado said.
Aparicio Blackwell emphasized that it really does take a village to support neighbors in need.
“Whether it is education or helping each other out in times of emergencies, I am so glad that we can count on each other to come together in these types of situations,” she said.