Among the many tough urban neighborhoods of West Baltimore, there is a small community called Sandtown. Since the race riots of the 60s, it has struggled to regain economic stability. Most of the stores within its 15-block radius are owned and operated by others living outside of the community. Goods are expensive, of poor quality, and are separated from customers by a thick barrier of bullet-proof Plexiglas. Nearly all the money spent there doesn’t stay, and year after year, Sandtown residents face the discouragement of low incomes, high unemployment, and rising crime.
Despite its many challenges, Sandtown radiates generations of wih love and care for each other and a strong determination to make its way back. Recently, it has become home to one of the finest, most sought-after, elementary/middle schools in Baltimore. The community is also benefiting from an urban housing renewal and ownership program started by New Song Ministries fifteen years ago. The building and opening of Gerry’s Goods is a significant part of that bold effort to restore economic stability, and the story told in Stores of Hope.