Monthly Update 11.20.2023: Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Takoma Park and Silver Spring families and friends,

Happy Thanksgiving! We at Tommy’s Pantry hope you will enjoy a Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family, good food, and more of the Radical Generosity you’ve shown our community over the years. 

Radical Generosity is the way you have expressed or instilled gratitude, whether on the giving or receiving end; this gratitude is essential to happiness, health and social bonds. It recognizes that there are multiple ways of giving – so that even as those in need receive assistance, they can still contribute their time and knowledge. We continue to be grateful for your volunteer and donor support as we’ve expanded from our humble beginnings in the Takoma Park Middle School parking lot.

Speaking of donor support, I am pleased to report that Tommy’s Pantry exceeded the fundraising goal for our Fall Fundraiser! This excellent news has allowed us to add multiple seasonal items to our November and December food and wellness boxes. Despite this boost to our holiday boxes afforded by the Fall Fundraiser success, the Fall Fundraiser only accounts for 10% of the Tommy’s Pantry annual budget. 

Please hold us in your Radically Generous hearts as you plan your year-end giving, so that together we can continue to serve those in our wonderful community who need a helping hand.


Wendy Kent, President

Upcoming Events

  • Grace Studios Maxi Pad Drive: Grace Studios is collecting maxi pads (no tampons please) to include in the 325 wellness boxes Tommy’s Pantry will distribute in December to local households facing hardship. Period poverty is real – the households Tommy’s Pantry serves can’t purchase period products with SNAP-EBT (food stamps), so they rely on Tommy’s Pantry for this monthly necessity. Consider bringing a pack or two to the studio through Friday, November 24th!
  • Alternative Gift Fair: Please stop by and support Tommy’s Pantry on Saturday, December 2nd from 12-4 pm at Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, 310 Tulip Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912.

Hat Drive Success

  • A HUGE thank you to our radically generous community of knitters, crocheters, and shoppers who made this year’s hat drive an unprecedented success! We asked for 100 hats, and you gave us 200. Special thanks to all of our student crafters and to the Crochet and Cozies group of the Takoma Park Maryland Library, who together donated more than 100 gorgeous handmade hats of all sizes.

Fundraising Corner

  • Fall Fundraiser Recap: A big thank you to everyone who helped make the Tommy’s Pantry Fall fundraiser a great success. You can see pictures from the event on our website. This outpouring of support will help ensure Tommy’s Pantry can continue to provide essential food and wellness supplies in 2024 to our neighbors who rely on us. If you would still like to help us meet our challenge grant or if you would still like to contribute, it’s not too late,
  • Every dollar doubled! Help us meet our $10,000 challenge grant or consider becoming a monthly sustainer.  Giving on a monthly basis helps us operate more efficiently throughout the year. Learn more at

Volunteer Update

  • New volunteer opportunities for December have been added to our volunteer Sign Up! To join us in alleviating food insecurity in our community, visit the Tommy’s Pantry Sign Up page at Students can earn SSL hours. Ages 11 and up, and please accompany your 11-year-old if it will be their first time volunteering with us.
  • Additionally, you can inquire about group volunteer bookings for 2024 by emailing Sarah at 
  • Weekday volunteers with muscle are still needed! If you are available on some Mondays, Wednesdays, and/or Fridays, we could use your help unloading deliveries and picking up our wellness supplies. Please email for more info.
  • High-school ambassadors wanted to assist supervisors with Saturday packing operations! (Looks great on a college application!) Please email for more info if interested. 
  • Special thanks to our recent volunteer groups: Women Who Care, Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School, and the Raskin family!

Tommy’s Pantry News & Social Media

Receive Assistance with Food & Wellness Items

  • Family health/wellness and cleaning supplies distribution: Join us on Saturday, December 2nd, at 7:30 am while supplies last. The drive-up distribution location is at the back of Church of the Ascension, across the street from East Silver Spring Elementary (630 Silver Spring Ave, Silver Spring, MD). If you plan to walk up, please email in advance.
  • Shelf-stable food and fresh fruits and vegetables distribution: Food boxes will be offered on Saturday, December 16th, at 7:30 am while supplies last. The drive-up distribution location is at the back of Church of the Ascension, across the street from East Silver Spring Elementary (630 Silver Spring Ave, Silver Spring, MD). If you plan to walk up, please email in advance.
  • 50% off WMATA fares: WMATA’s new Metro Lift program offers 50% off Metrobus and Metrorail trips for DC, Maryland, and Virginia customers enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). For more information in multiple languages, and to enroll, visit .
  • For the 2023-2024 school year: Families can add funds 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. To apply online, visit

Thank you for your continued support of this vital community initiative.

Wendy Kent
Tommy’s Pantry President

Sarah Goupell
Tommy’s Pantry Vice President

Kathleen Bartels
Tommy’s Pantry Treasurer

Sasha Johnson
Tommy’s Pantry Secretary 

Paula Kowalczuk
Tommy’s Pantry Board Member, Chair of Fundraising & Finance Committee

Hannah Raskin
Tommy’s Pantry Board Member, At-large

Adrienne Tilton
Tommy’s Pantry Board Member, At-large

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.