Our History

In the summer of 1982, two volunteers from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Glyndon – Helen Martien and Reverend Philip Roulette – approached Reverend Edwin Stube of St. Paul the Apostle Church on Washington Boulevard with their vision for a soup kitchen in one of the poorest communities in Baltimore City and the nation, Washington Village/Pigtown. On September 27, 1982, Paul’s Place began serving soup and sandwiches twice a week.

Word spread quickly about this new soup kitchen, and within the first two years, volunteer cooks from all faiths began preparing casseroles off-site to serve at Paul’s Place. The Hot Lunch program soon expanded to seven days a week. Also during its first two years, Paul’s Place began offering a values-based Saturday morning program and summer camp for children in the community.

By the end of its fifth year of service to the community, Paul’s Place had established a Nurses’ Clinic to provide basic health screenings to homeless and uninsured community members and began distributing clothing and bags of food. Paul’s Place continued to add programs and serve more people in need until the mid-1990s when Paul’s Place became homeless.

For two years, Paul’s Place distributed bag lunches from a storefront on Washington Boulevard while its volunteer leaders raised the funds needed to purchase and renovate a new home on Ward Street. In 1996, Paul’s Place opened its Outreach Center at 1118 Ward Street and resumed the Hot Lunch program and its other programs. Three years later, the new wing of the Outreach Center opened and Paul’s Place began a strategic planning and community asset mapping process to determine Paul’s Place niche in the community and the direction of future programming.

After more than 30 years of service to the community, Paul’s Place now offers more than two dozen services and programs to low-income individuals and families in the Washington Village/Pigtown community. As we look to the future, Paul’s Place will continue to expand our program and to partner with other organizations in our community to improve the quality of life in Washington Village/Pigtown.

A Timeline of Paul’s Place

1982 - 1989

In 1982 two volunteers from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Glyndon – Helen Martien and the Reverend Philip Roulette – approached Reverend Edwin Stube of St. Paul the Apostle Church on Washington Boulevard with their vision for a soup kitchen to serve members of one of the poorest communities in the City and the nation.

On September 27, 1982, Paul’s Place began serving soup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches twice a week to the hungry in Washington Village/Pigtown.

Within two years, the Hot Lunch program had expanded to seven days a week and lunches were casseroles baked in the kitchens of churches and synagogues.

In 1984, Paul’s Place began programming for children with a values-based Saturday morning program called Kid’s Place. That summer, neighborhood children participated in summer camp.

In our 4th year, the Nurses’ Clinic was established. In its first year, the Clinic performed basic health screenings for 150 homeless and uninsured community members.

In 1987, Paul’s Place began distributing clothing and expanded meal service to include breakfast seven days a week.   The following year, Paul’s Place began distributing bags of food to community members in need through the Super Pantry program.  Almost 7 years after opening, Paul’s Place was the second-largest soup kitchen in Baltimore city and our services had expanded to include legal assistance, counseling, and referrals  for services outside our walls. We also offered food, showers, and a warm bed to the homeless men in Washington Village/Pigtown, with built-in “Murphy beds” in the balcony above the gym and showers in the locker room of the St. Paul the Apostle Church.

1990 - 1999

Paul’s Place, in partnership with the Middendorf Foundation, founded Open Gates Health Clinic as an off-shoot of our Nurses’ Clinic in 1990.  Our Super Pantry classes taught women to shop economically and to plan and cook nutritious meals for their families.  In 1993, new programs for children were added – mentoring for high-risk children in grades 1- 5 and a special day program at Christmas.  A year later, Paul’s Place moved from St. Paul the Apostle Church to a storefront at 847 Washington Boulevard and reduced meal service to bag lunches.  During this time, the mentoring program for high-risk children, still in operation at St. Paul the Apostle Church, became the After-Three program through a partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Graduate School.  Venable, Baetjer & Howard began teaching budgeting and job skills classes for people accessing Paul’s Place services.

In 1993, Paul’s Place purchased property on Ward Street and began raising money and planning for renovations.  Two years later, the Building Committee selected architects for the construction of our new Outreach Center. With drawings in hand, William Donald Schaefer convinced Whiting-Turner Contracting Company to complete construction at cost and construction at 1118 Ward Street began.

In October 1996, Paul’s Place moved from the storefront on Washington Boulevard to the new Outreach Center at 1118 Ward Street.  Harold Graul outfitted kitchen with state-of-the-art equipment.  The Hot Lunch program, clothing distribution, and Nurses’ Clinic resumed.  Within a year, we had added new programs, including job training, literacy, Narcotics Anonymous, and a Women’s Support Group.  We realized we needed more space and three buildings on Ward Street were demolished in preparation for construction of the new wing of our Outreach Center.  By 1999, Summer Outings and Camps for Kids expanded to eight weeks, and our first Coordinator of Children’s Program was hired.  The Ambassador Program, a rewards-based community volunteer program for underemployed and unemployable adults, was also established.  We began offering showers and laundry services to community members.

2000 - Present

In 2000, a long-range plan was approved by the Board with three areas of focus: 1. expanding programs to include educational, recreational, and social activities; 2. bringing together other service providers to develop a community-wide vision and identify gaps in services; and 3. studying the feasibility of developing a transitional housing program.

In 2002, Paul’s Place celebrated 20 years of service to the community and expanded our partnerships.  We started a Men’s Support Group and Open Gates Health Clinic opened its new clinic on Washington Boulevard just around the corner from Paul’s Place, making referrals for special care for homeless and other uninsured community members simpler.  In 2004, Paul’s Place received the Standards for Excellence from Maryland Nonprofits. This seal of approval shows that Paul’s Place operates with ethics and accountability in our program operations, governance, human resources, financial management, and fundraising.  During this year, our After-3 program began working with elementary school children instead of middle school students.  By 2005, we were ready for additional expansion and began planning for the renovation of the second floor of our Outreach Center.

By 2006, we had new space for a computer lab, wellness room and Market Place.  We continued to expand our services to include after school and summer programming for grades 1-12.  In 2010, we invested in providing case management for our guests and in 2012, we remodelled a row home next to Paul’s Place to expand our space once again. Our Case Management suite houses three case managers, our employment specialist and our Director of Health and Wellness.

Today, Paul’s Place has over 20 programs and continues to be a beam of light in the Washington Village/Pigtown Neighborhood.  Over 30 years, we have been able to develop programming to meet the changing needs of our community and remain financially stable.  Come visit us to see all that’s happening!