It was 12:01 a.m. Tuesday when Shomrim of Baltimore neighborhood watch group received a call from a frantic woman, who was locked with two children in a storage unit—far away in San Francisco.
"We don't know how she got our number," said Ron Rosenbluth, Shomrim vice president, noting that she may have misdialed one number when calling for help, and ended up getting Shomrim's hotline number: 410-358-9999.
But, the group that patrols the neighborhoods and helps find missing people in the northwest Baltimore, Upper Park Heights, Pikesville and Greenspring areas, helped coordinate the search effort from thousands of miles away.
They contacted the San Francisco Police Department, spoke with the mostly Spanish-speaking woman to get information on where she might be, and helped police locate and rescue her, according to Ron Rosenbluth, vice president.
The fact that the volunteer manning the hotline actually stayed with the woman and helped her, rather than deferring her to 911 shows the members' dedication, Rosenbluth said.
"That's what our guys do. They go to the extreme to help," he said.
And that they were able to perform this mitzvah during Chanukah holds special meaning for Shomrim members, he added.
A representative of the San Francisco Police Department said he did not have enough information to locate details of the incident.