Giving Back in St. Vincent’s Church Park

Phone: 410-962-5078

To Those Who Wish to Give Back in St. Vincent de Paul Church Park:

St. Vincent’ s parish (the owner of the Park) welcomes people who seek a place to rest, sit, pray, talk, and read. All who wish to bring donations of food or services to St. Vincent’s property must be registered on our park calendar. To get on the calendar, please email the parish office at

Please be aware:  The scale of items donated, especially on weekends and holidays, too often exceeds actual need. Sometimes, food & other items are simply dropped off (dumped) by well-meaning persons or groups. Leftover food attracts rats, and clothing left on the property (often, unfortunately, hung on the church fence) is picked over quickly. The rest is abandoned. Then we must throw it away.

We want our property, including our park, to reflect the innate human dignity of each person encountered there.  Please help St. Vincent’s staff & volunteers keep our park clean and orderly.

Park Guidelines:

  • You must be registered and put on the calendar before you can donate.
  • The park is open seven days a week according to staff availability: usually from 9 AM – 5 PM weekdays and Saturday, and until 1 PM on Sunday.  On major holidays or in inclement weather, the park might remain closed. 
  • Leave nothing. Take unused donations with you. Bring your own trash bags. Take any trash generated by your visit away with you when you leave.
  • Trash cans in the park are placed there for litter. They cannot accommodate large amounts of trash, and are not emptied by the city. To help maintain the park as a restful place of dignity, place any litter you find when you arrive in closed bags and take to the curb.
  • Take your ministry inside the Park.  Please do not use the sidewalk or street, church steps or parking lot to set up and give out donations.
  • Honor the Sunday morning hours of worship. No give-back or ministry groups until 1:00 PM on Sundays without express permission from the church.
  • Limit time you spend distributing food and services to 90 minutes and the amount to 50 people.
  • No Clothing – please take all clothing donations to Helping Up Mission, 1029 E. Baltimore Street (a block away).
  • No alcohol or illegal substances.
  • No amplified preaching or music.
  • No grills.
  • Please do not distribute cushions, furniture, tarps, or tents.

Park History Park Gate

A brief history of St. Vincent’s Park.
In the early 1960’s, Baltimore City tore down old buildings and created a park next to St. Vincent’s church. The park became a favored hangout for those experiencing homelessness or near-homelessness—some of these people slept in the park. Their right to rest there was defended by then-pastor Fr. Richard Lawrence when St. Vincent purchased the property in 2000.  In time, the park and church property at 120 North Front Street became a popular place for charitable donations of clothing and food, and mission visits from area churches and other groups. Donors brought food, clothing, tents, tarps and mattresses. Some homeless people set up semi-permanent shelters in the park. In 2009 the nature of the encampment had resulted in the park becoming an unhealthy and unsafe space. Encampment was then prohibited. Sleeping in the park was permitted until the early fall of 2019. That year, sadly, an inhospitable environment across the entire church campus, including the park, was effected by a group who encamped on the church steps. At this time, the park is closed every night. It is open every day for anyone to rest, talk, read, eat, and be in community with one another.