Anyone driving past McClinton Nunn Homes at 425 Nebraska on Saturday at 3 p.m. would have thought a riot was about to jump off. More than a dozen armed Lucas County Sheriff’s deputies stood in front of the central Toledo housing projects, blocking the entrances. The place was on lockdown.
But this was no gang beef. It was more than 50 young people trying to do something good, even with badges and guns standing in their way.
They stood on a corner, across the street from the deputies, most of them between the ages of 12 and 18. On the ground were 150 brown bags full of bleach, paper towels, toothpaste, soap, air fresheners, laundry detergent, and cleaners. Members of the Boss Angles Inc., a charitable group founded by Mr. Lake, the young people had planned to deliver the supplies to the doors of needy senior citizens and families at McClinton Nunn, but sheriff’s deputies wouldn’t allow them onto the property.
"With all the crime that’s going on, they’re spending money on sheriff’s deputies to stop these young people from trying to do something good,’’ Mr. Lake told me. "It just shows the odds that inner city kids have against them. Even when they try to do the right thing, they still end up looking like criminals."
Mayoral candidate Anita Lopez had been scheduled to appear at the event, but she cancelled on Thursday, after the executive director of the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority told her that political activities were off-limits on housing authority property, campaign spokeswoman Diane May told me today.
Neither Ms. Lopez nor any other candidate showed. I’m still trying to find out why the kids were banned from McClinton Nunn, including three or four kids who lived there but were wearing "Boss Angels" T-shirts.
But the day wasn’t a loss. Young people gave away most of the packages to residents who walked over from around the neighborhood, including McClinton Nunn.
After breaking up at 4:45 p.m., the kids prayed and walked across the street to shake hands with the six or seven deputies who were still there. As they approached, several deputies jumped out of their cars, probably expecting the worst. The kids just extended their hands.
"They were surprised,’’ said Tae McCoy, 15. "God still made a way for people to get their bags."