March 12, 2021

Pizza with a Side of Dignity with Baltimore’s 10:12 Sports

Jeff Thompson is a man with a vision, and adolescent boys are blossoming in the care of his 10:12 Sports organization. Thirty-two mentors are serving 208 adolescents, using the training and joy inherent in basketball, flag football and weight training to share life lessons, discipline and relationship. They’re now using Breadcoins as another way to love these guys well by being able to feed them… definitely the way to an athlete’s heart.

Jeff says, “We are a discipleship ministry that really came out of listening to the community. We are in West Baltimore, notoriously known for lacking resources. They generally get the short end of the stick, the area that the resources don’t trickle into. A lot of the residents expressed that there aren’t a lot of folks who are reaching out to adolescent males… so that’s who we serve, young men from 13 to 18, mentoring through sports and also job development and leadership training. We can be a bridge too for the church, giving them a way to love on these young men, the demographic that’s largely not tied to the church in any way.”

Breadcoins are given out by what we call “distribution partners” like 10:12 that give them out in the context of ongoing relationships. So 10:12 will use them for mentors and the young men they work with to get meals together; for the adolescents to use to serve the homeless they reach out to as a group; for events when many folks gather; and the guys can even take some home to families.

Thompson says, “It’s good to give things away but we like for them to be able to do something valuable to serve, and then allowing them to advocate for and bring something home for their families — whether some chicken or pizza or something else they can get with Breadcoins. That would be the best win for us. It’s always a good conversation to say, ‘Did you spend this on yourself or was your mindset that you wanted your family to know you were thinking about them and wanted to serve them in this way?’

“Our guys don’t always get that opportunity. It helps family relationships and gives them the dignity of knowing ‘I made the right choice to serve when I gave my family some food.’ We talk about this all the time. We go serve the homeless, and talk to the guys about how we were meant to serve others; God allows us to have that opportunity. When you tap into that, you want more of walking in how God has created you. I think Breadcoin can play a huge part in that!”

Jeff continues, “My guys are always asking me for money but if someone, like a panhandler or a ‘squeegee boy’ asks them for money, they’ll always give them a dollar. It’s one of the most humbling things. It’s an aspect of ‘I know where they’re coming from, so here’s a dollar.’ So I would love for Breadcoin to stand in the gap there so the guys could say, ‘I have Breadcoins to give’ and to make that connection about being able to help.”

As always the work in Baltimore is funded by the generous monthly donors we call members. Folks can certainly specify that we direct their coins to 10:12 Sports. That would be money well invested.