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Volunteers Aid Victims of Riots in Baltimore

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland.

There were riots in parts of the city after a funeral was held for an African-American man who died after being arrested.

Baltimore officials cancelled a night-time curfew last weekend. They had earlier ordered people to stay off the streets from 10 o’clock at night to five o’clock in the morning because of the rioting.

Twenty-five-year-old Freddie Gray suffered spinal injuries while being detained by police. He later died from those injuries.

Government lawyers have charged six police officers, three of them African-American, with crimes related to his death.

The city is working to get back to normal after a week of violence. Volunteers are helping people in the neighborhoods that were affected by the unrest.

Antonio Hayes is a Maryland lawmaker. He represents parts of Baltimore in the state’s legislature. He says he had no problem finding people to help victims of the riots.

“They want to see Baltimore be better. Everything is not back to a normal state, as we still have somewhat of an occupied city by the different law enforcement agencies here, but I think overall the majority of Baltimore residents are reclaiming their community and standing up.”

Some volunteers created a food bank -- a place where people can get free food and prepared meals.

Cavette Buford lives on the other side of Baltimore. Volunteers like her came to help this neighborhood.

“We are just trying to give everybody the things they need, and also after the CVS (drugstore) burnt down, a lot of the stores out here were looted.”

The meals, fresh fruit and other foods were a big help to Trakiesha Peels and her two children.

“It means a lot especially with a lot of the stores messed up and stuff and people just cannot get the stuff that they need. So it definitely means a lot.”

Nearby, a number of faith-based organizations are helping young boys and girls to smile again. Loir McDaniel is a religious leader. He organizes the after-school activities for the children.

“It's trying to help the children have positive influences in their community.”

Joann Brewer helps children deal with the loss of a family member to violence. Her son and grandson were murdered years ago.

“This community can bounce back. It don't take that long. It bounce back since yesterday.”

Many people in the neighborhood are thankful for the time and energy the volunteers are giving to help the area recover and build hope for the future.

I’m Marsha James.

VOA Correspondent Chris Simkins reported this story from Baltimore. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it into Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

food bank – n. a place that has free food for poor people

loot – v. to steal things from (a place, such as a store or house) during a war or after destruction has been caused by fire or rioting

messed up – idiom destroyed; in poor condition

stuff – n. (informal) materials, supplies or equipment; a group or pile of things that are not specifically described

bounce back – idiom to recover after a disability, illness, blow or defeat

Do people in your country volunteer to help those who are victims of riots or other kinds of violence? We want to hear from you. Write your thoughts in the comments section.

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