Monthly Update 12.18.2023: Your Year-End Support Makes a Difference

Dear Takoma Park and Silver Spring families and friends,

Despite the chilly morning temperatures at Saturday’s distribution, we were able to get 1,000 pounds of masa (cornmeal staple of LatinX households), 300 shelf-stable food boxes, and 80 boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands and vehicles of local families and individuals in need. With support from donors, our December wellness and food boxes were able to include hot cocoa and minty cookies for an extra holiday treat. 

As our 2023 grant funds are used up and we survey our bare pantry shelves, we appreciate the ongoing end-of-year support that our radically generous donors continue to pledge. This support enables us to continue our synergy of advance planning, bulk orders, and inclusion of recipient-requested and timely items. Thank you also to our dedicated volunteers and partner organizations, like Capital Area Food Bank, for helping our operation run smoothly, even on cold, dark winter mornings.


Wendy Kent, President

Upcoming Events

  • Toiletries Drive in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: From January 5th through January 19th, we will be collecting toothpaste (4-oz or larger), men’s and women’s deodorant (full-size), and maxi pads (24-ct or larger packs please) for local households in need in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Please check the News page of our website in early January for drop-off locations and additional details about this community drive celebrating dignity and solidarity. Thank you so much for your participation! 
  • Volunteer/Donation Event Commemorating the Life of Tommy Raskin: This event will take place at the end of January. Please check the News page of our website in early January for more details.

Fundraising Corner

  • Year End Donations Needed & Appreciated: Our goal for this holiday season is to raise enough funds to continue to provide essentials to the households we serve throughout 2024.  With your generous support, we can continue to distribute produce, masa (cornmeal staple of LatinX households), and more than 600 monthly boxes of food and wellness products to our neighbors. Demand for our services has spiked again in tandem with the colder temperatures, and we hope we can once again count on your support to meet this growing need. Tommy’s Pantry is registered with Fidelity Charitable, so if you have a giving account with Fidelity Charitable, you can elect Tommy’s Pantry as a donation recipient. Please visit our website ( to donate
  • Alternative Gift Fair Recap: Thank you to all who stopped by to support Tommy’s Pantry on Saturday, December 2nd at the Alternative Gift Fair in Takoma Park.
  • Cello Choir Benefit: On December 10th, the Silver Spring Cello Choir held its annual winter concert as a benefit concert for Tommy’s Pantry. We thank the Cello Choir and all who attended and donated.
  • 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
  • Grant Award: We are thrilled to announce that Tommy’s Pantry has been awarded a generous grant for 2024 from the Cloudbreak Foundation, marking the beginning of an exciting new local partnership that will enhance our Wellness Box Program. Thank you, Cloudbreak Foundation, for joining us in making a positive impact!

Volunteer Update

  • New volunteer opportunities for January 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 group: Grace Studios

Tommy’s Pantry News & Social Media

Receive Assistance with Food & Wellness Items

  • Family health/wellness and cleaning supplies distribution: Join us on Saturday, January 6th, 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, January 20th, 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.