Monthly Update 11.18.2022: Leadership & masking changes, News tab on our website, Thanksgiving boxes, new volunteer dates & more

Dear Takoma Park and Silver Spring families and friends,

Vice President Meghan McDonald will be moving to Massachusetts in December. While we’re heartbroken and will miss her terribly, we know this step will be positive and fruitful for Meg and her family. Meg has been with Tommy’s Pantry since before our group even officially coalesced. As PTA President of TPES, she approached Bryan Goehring, Alicia Deeny and myself about becoming partners with our pantry at TPMS to offer food relief for local families, including those with children at TPES, ESS, and PBES. Meg has always had a visionary role within Tommy’s Pantry and we will miss her immensely. Her enthusiasm, wisdom, kindness and love of this community has guided us through our improbable ability to become, maintain and grow Tommy’s Pantry into the beautiful organization it is today.

Despite having big shoes to fill, outgoing Secretary Sarah Goupell has agreed to take on the role of Vice President of Tommy’s Pantry. Sarah has also been with us since before we were an official group and has been a tireless champion of Tommy’s Pantry. She even convinces her numerous knitting buddies to make hats for the families we serve! We’re all so happy she has agreed to take on this new position on the Board. 

Please join us in wishing Meg happiness and success in MA and help us thank Sarah for stepping up to become our Vice President.


Wendy Kent, President

Masking Policy Update

  • Tommy’s Pantry has revised its masking policy as of November 18th, 2022. Masks are still required when volunteering with us indoors, but masks are now optional when volunteering outside the building. Thank you to all who provided input to help us reach this decision. We feel confident that this is the best choice for the organization right now, considering the preferences, mixed ages, and immunocompromised status of some of our volunteers. We will re-evaluate the masking policy again in the Spring. Thank you for helping to keep our volunteer spaces safe!

NEW Tommy’s Pantry News Page

  • The Tommy’s Pantry website now features a News tab, where you can stay up-to-date with our latest newsletters, donation drives, and events. You can also follow us on Instagram (@tommyspantrytkpk) and Twitter (@tommyspantry) to get the latest updates and photos from our packing and distribution events.

Successful Thanksgiving Food Drive

  • Through November 11th, Tommy’s Pantry collected Thanksgiving food items for distribution on Saturday, November 19th. Takoma Park Middle School (TPMS) collected 150 boxes of stuffing, 150 cans of cranberry sauce, & 150 packages of instant mashed potatoes. Meanwhile, East Silver Spring Elementary School (ESS), Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES), and Takoma Park Child Development Center (TPCDC) gathered more than 80 boxes of dessert mixes, 25 cans of cranberry sauce, 25 mashed potatoes, and 35 boxes of stuffing. We were also able to include 300 handmade cards, courtesy of those who stopped by our StreetFest booth, volunteered with us recently, or contributed through Girl Scouts. Thank you to all in our community who donated festive food items and cards to bring joy to a neighbor’s holiday table!

Winter Hat Drive Recap

  • The Tommy’s Pantry Winter Hat Drive ended on Sunday, October 30th with a total of 75 hats collected! While we were only 50% toward this year’s goal of 150 hats, we surpassed last year’s 50-hat giveaway by 25 hats. Thank you to all of our local crafters and donors! Our 12 animal fiber hats were distributed to pedestrian clients with our wellness boxes on November 5th, and the remaining plant and synthetic fiber hats were distributed as part of our ThanksVegan event sponsored by PETA on November 12th. 

NEW Volunteer Opportunities for December NOW AVAILABLE

  • Visit the Tommy’s Pantry SignUp Genius page to sign up to help alleviate food insecurity in our community. Students can earn SSL hours. You can also inquire about group volunteer bookings and on-site corporate volunteer events (NEW!) by emailing Sarah at Ages 11 and up. Age minimum does not apply to group bookings.

Donate Today

  • Your financial contributions go directly into the kitchens and homes of our friends and neighbors. To continue this work, your donations and volunteer support remain crucial.  Please consider donating or signing up to volunteer today! Please visit our website at to donate

Produce Update

  • As a Capital Area Food Bank partner, Tommy’s Pantry is able to receive free produce to distribute when it is available. We hope to resume produce service as soon as there is inventory we can order. Please check in on our SignUp Genius page in the coming weeks to find out how you can help distribute fresh fruits and vegetables for Tommy’s Pantry.

Receive Assistance with Food & Wellness Items

  • Boxes of shelf-stable food will be offered on Saturday, November 19th, at 7:30am while supplies last. Available at the back of Church of the Ascension, across the street from East Silver Spring Elementary (630 Silver Spring Ave, Silver Spring, MD). Walk-ups, please email in advance.
  • Family health/wellness and cleaning supplies will be distributed on Saturday, December 3rd, at 7:30am while supplies last. Available at the back of Church of the Ascension, across the street from East Silver Spring Elementary (630 Silver Spring Ave, Silver Spring, MD). Walk-ups, please email in advance.
  • For the 2022-2023 school year, breakfast, lunch, and dinner will no longer be free for all MCPS students.  Funds can be added to student lunch accounts using MySchoolBucks  or payments can be made directly to the cafeteria using cash or a check. Families that qualify for any level of Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS) support will still receive FREE meals.  Apply online at .

Thank you so much for supporting this important community initiative.

Sarah Goupell
Vice President & Interim Secretary, Tommy’s Pantry & Piney Branch Elementary School PTA Food Support Coordinator

Wendy Kent
President, Tommy’s Pantry

Kathleen Bartels
Treasurer, Tommy’s Pantry & Liaison to the ESS PTA Health & Wellness Committee

Adrienne Tilton
Takoma Park Middle Paraeducator & Tommy’s Pantry Supervisor

Bryan  Goehring
TPMS Difference Makers & Tommy’s Pantry Supervisor

Leticia Read
Church of the Ascension Clerk of the Works & Liaison to Tommy’s Pantry

Tommy’s Pantry collaborates with PTA leaders, school counselors, administration and ESOL teachers from each of our schools, Blair school counselors, the City of Takoma Park, and county social workers. With the help of all of these people and organizations, we have quick and direct contact with families who need help. Rest assured that we are reaching far into the community – all across Takoma Park and the folks from the East Silver Spring neighborhood.