By Antonio Moore
Special to AFRO

While the city has hit its lowest point during the holiday season with a series of fatal and non-fatal shootings, there was still plenty to be joyful about. Community leader and philanthropist Carlmicheal “Stokey” Cannady was on a mission that would ensure many underserved families were not left behind this holiday season. For the past two weeks, Stokey’s organization “TheStokeyProject,” has partnered with Shoe City, New Balance, and many other organizations to spread warmth and joy to Baltimore families in need.

On Dec. 14, TheStokeyProject partnered with pop music artist Brent Faiyaz and The Lost Kids Foundation for a “Day of Giving Christmas Giveback,” where over 20 Baltimore families went on a Christmas shopping spree at the Target shopping center in Canton. Four Corners Transportation provided transportation for the families. 

It didn’t stop there either, the shopping spree was the first of many acts of kindness that the philanthropist poured into the city this week.

On Dec. 18 and 19, TheStokeyProject partnered with New Balance to provide families in Virginia free pairs of tennis shoes for the holidays.On Dec. 20, the StokeyProject partnered with Shoe City for a Holiday toy drive at Mondawmin Mall.  

On the afternoon of Dec. 22, over 500 families and community members gathered inside and outside of the West Baltimore’s Shake and Bake Family Fun Center to participate in the “TheStokeyProject, Your City My City, New Balance Holiday Giveback.” 

As the line stretched out the door of Shake and Bake, the beloved community leader stepped outside to give hugs and interact with the families in line. As he walked down the line, cheer spread amongst those who waited.  

This giveaway also featured an additional 500 pairs of shoes to honor the legacy of of beloved business owner and father Sean “Laid Back Jack” Davis, who himself was planning a Holiday Toy drive for the children of murdered parents before his life was tragically cut short during a string of shootings on Dec. 17.

The very next morning, Stokey and community leader Terry “Uncle T” Williams hit the streets during peak squeeging hours to bring the squeegee kids a holiday surprise. Uncle T and young men from his East Baltimore based program “Challenge 2 Change” joined Stokey in hand delivering over 50 pairs of shoes to young men on squeegee corner hotspots that morning. 

He doubled that number the next morning, returning to the squeegee corners for a second time, and posting on Instagram asking community members to drop known locations of the young serial entrepreneurs. 

The love even went beyond the squeegee kids as Stokey pulled the sprinter van over in East Baltimore on Monument Street and Patterson Park Avenue, to show love and spread an evening of laughter and community conversation. Parents brought their children and snapped photos with the beloved community leader. 

Christmas Eve concluded the The Stokey Project Holiday Toy and Shoes Giveaway. In collaboration with East Baltimore entrepreneur Eric “DinzyKilla” Williams, Terry Williams and N’Theory, gathered families at the former Provident Savings Bank’s northern branch, located on 100 W. North Ave. 

When asked about the series of holiday giving, Stokey let it be known that he wanted to ensure no family was left behind. “I want to make sure that people in need, single parents and families that didn’t have the resources had a chance to celebrate and take part of the holidays, get to take part. 

These events this holiday season where sure to touch over 1,000 Baltimore families, Stokey and his team continuously host community initiatives and givebacks. For more information about the project, follow @thestokeyproject on Instagram.

Antonio Moore is a native Baltimorean and co-founder of Students Demand
Action Baltimore, an organization that works to end gun-violence. Contact Antonio
by email at Antonio.moore1227@gmail.com.