Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Local organizations give away food at Nativity School, supporting community after loss of teen

Volunteers distributed boxes of food to community members in need.

In just a few weeks the Nativity School has witnessed acts of both violence and unity right in its parking lot.

Following the shooting and subsequent death of a Harrisburg teenager outside the school, community groups came together on Tuesday to reclaim the space and spread positivity through a food giveaway.

“We picked this location for a reason,” said Jennie Jenkins, an organizer of the event and the owner of La Voz Latina Central, a local publication. “We wanted to support the community, especially the Nativity School that was plagued by violence.”

The Black Wall USA, a nonprofit fighting against racism, hosted the event to help those in the community that are in need of food.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture donated 1,300 boxed meals, each containing 30 pounds of food, for The Black Wall to distribute to local families.

“COVID is real, people are suffering, food is needed,” said Martin Harris of The Black Wall.

A large crowd of city residents waited in lines as volunteers from over 18 different organizations hauled boxes out of a packed truck. People could take as many as they needed for their family, volunteers explained.

Numerous boxes were also taken to those in Harrisburg who may not have been able to get out to the event. Jenkins said they distributed to places like the East Shore YMCA, Paxton Place Apartments and the Presbyterian Apartments.

Harris said The Black Wall USA plans to do food giveaways like this bi-weekly.

The Black Wall USA formed this past summer to solve issues around racial injustice in the Harrisburg area. Harris’s father, Earl Harris, a retired pastor, lawyer and civil rights activist, founded the organization.

Harris said the organization, under his father’s leadership, considers themselves the “evolution of Black Lives Matter.”

“We get past the point of just holding a rally,” he said. “We make a plan and execute it.”

The organization is especially interested in using politics to make a change, but also through caring for the community on a local level, like through the food giveaway.

An ambitious group, The Black Wall has many projects in the works, Harris said.

“If there’s a gap we will fill it,” he said.

For more information on The Black Wall USA, visit

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