Peninsula Raises Funds to “Kick COVID-19 Blues”

Six pandemic-related relief organizations benefited from the 364.5 miles that South Baltimore peninsula residents walked, ran, and biked as part of the #SoBo1000K Memorial Day weekend.

The impromptu community event to “Kick the COVID-19 Blues” and trek to the three major peninsula parks raised a total of $1400 from individual donors who pledged to give to an organization of their choice for every mile covered over the three-day event. The organizations and amounts received are:

Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund: $150

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: $100

Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Response: $50

Maryland Food Bank: $840

National Alliance on Mental Illness: $50

World Central Kitchen: $210

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Fifty-four peninsula residents (not counting several pets) participated in the event; a full roster is available online. The donors were Dan Amirault, Ann Baum, Steve Cole, Erik Hummel, Vigdis Jacobsen, Matthew & Kimberly Johnson, Madison Kafer, Martina Lipperini Design, Jeanne McCann, Fina Santa-Maria, Tommie Schoendorf, Jane Seebold, and Barry Vaughn.

The event marked an unusual start to the summer of 2020 with COVID-19 travel restrictions and Baltimore’s stay-at-home order still in effect. But the weather cooperated Saturday through Monday, May 23-25, providing participants ample opportunities to get outside and visit Latrobe, Riverside, or Federal Hill parks and beyond.

The COVID-19 restrictions on normal life did not get in the way of residents remembering the reason for Memorial Day, as noted by #SoBo1000K participant Arthur Swartwout:

“My annual visit to Arlington National Cemetery was a no-go this year thanks to the cemetery’s decision to allow only family members instead of the general public. It’s a decision that disappointments me, but one I fully support and respect.

“Eight years in a row, I’ve seen firsthand how packed the visitors center can get. One person with COVID could very easily infect a dozen or more others. If my not being allowed to visit this year makes it safer for them to visit their loved ones, then it’s a sacrifice I’ll make 10 times out of 10.

“That said, I wasn’t going to sit on my ass and do NOTHING. I did what was, for me, the next best thing. I loaded the rucksack I carried on my deployment to Afghanistan with weight, wore a t-shirt with the crest of the unit I deployed to Afghanistan with (1-32 Infantry, Chosin!), and headed out for my first urban rucking adventure in half a year.

“The mask made the experience a little harder than I anticipated, especially when I got to the stairs at Federal Hill, where it became positively bestial: 100-ish feet of elevation, tiny stairs, and a slope that was closer to 45 degrees than 30. Given the circumstances, I’d do it again.

“By getting outside and building some callouses on my feet, I took part in the Peninsula Parks 1000k, a local fundraiser that has a goal of getting residents in my part of town to get out and enjoy the three parks we’re blessed with in this part of Baltimore. Some kind people have pledged money for each mile a resident walks so, on top of the exercise and the feeling that I was able to something, however small, to honor our great country’s fallen service members, I helped raise a few bucks for local charities.

“I’ll call it a solid start to the weekend. Peace, everyone.”

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