One of the mantras of the CCA is “Get Neighborly”. An excellent example of this is the Beautify Baltimore Brunch Club. We talked with its founder Phil LaBarge to find out more about this very neighborly club.
Hi Phil. How long have you been a Canton resident and how did you end up here?
My life and career with FedEx have moved me through several cities: Detroit, Las Vegas, Boston, LA, San Diego, Philly, and now, I’m a proud two-year Baltimorean! I looked at several neighborhoods, but the close-knit ‘mom & pop’ feel of Canton really resonated with me.
What do you like most about living in Canton? And the CCA?
I love the 5-minute proximity to everything; 5-minute walk to Paterson Park, 5-minute walk to the Promenade, 5-minute walk to a great local pub. I like to walk obviously. Equal, to this is the people.
The CCA does a great job collaborating with all the local groups via social media. Definitely helps all of Canton stay ‘in-the-know’ and it is much appreciated.
Tell us about the Beautify Baltimore Brunch Club. What was the impetus and how does it work?
Living in several cities over the years will teach you the importance of becoming part of the community to feel, home. I saw an opportunity last year to do some good helping cleanup weeds and to lay mulch in planters and found it oddly fun, therapeutic, and a great vehicle for meeting neighbors. I put the idea of weeding and grabbing brunch afterwards on Facebook and a year later our Facebook group is nearing the 900-member mark – crazy and great all at the same time.
The mission is simple: Every other Sunday one of our members will nominate a block they live on that could use some help. (Let’s face it, we all live busy lives and keeping up with the weeds is no easy task).
We then vote on a brunch spot and make a reservation with the confirmed RSVPs. We typically get 20-30 do-gooders out there on a given Sunday; enough that we can do two areas simultaneously now.
When you’re not weeding, what do you do?
Music always was and is my first love. Aside from that, I’m usually out on a run doing my best Rocky Balboa.
I hear you play a mean guitar. Have you made your Baltimore debut yet?
Not yet! Putting a band together is definitely on the to-do list. Any Snarky Puppy-loving/Fusion-cats out there want to get a group going? Hit me up!
If someone wants to volunteer, needs help on their block, or if a restaurant wants to host a brunch, how can they contact you?
Joining the Beautify Baltimore Brunch Club on Facebook and throwing any inquires etc. on that page is the easiest way. Of course, a private message to me via Facebook is always an easy route as well.
Is there anything else you'd like our community to know?
I would like to note that we hope no one ever feels embarrassed should a block you live on be weeded by us. If we’re out weeding your block, it’s because one of our members lives on it, and why not have some fun doing this chore with some friends? We’re a community after all.
To join the Beautify Baltimore Brunch club, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/417651285384444/
To contact Phil directly, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org