Monthly Update 8.27.2023: Back-to-School, Hat Drive, StreetFest, & Fall Fundraiser

Dear Takoma Park and Silver Spring families and friends,
The back-to-school time of year is always a special time for Tommy’s Pantry, since our board all met through volunteer work in the schools. We have deepened our relationship with our local schools over the years by keeping in touch with school administration, staff, PTAs and more. 

We are especially proud of our connection to our neighbor school across the street, East Silver Spring Elementary (ESS). Over the past year, we started delivering 80 weekly bags of shelf-stable food items as part of Manna’s Smart Sacks program, and we look forward to continuing that support throughout the 2023-2024 school year as well. In addition, thanks to a generous donation of surplus supplies from Comfort Cases, we will be providing ESS with an influx of binders, erasers, markers, glue, folders, and more to equip students in need for the start of the school year.

And keep bringing us those SSL forms! We can’t thank our local students and families enough for your continuous volunteer support. We truly can not do this work without your help.


Wendy Kent, President

Upcoming Events

  • Handmade/New Hat Drive Attention local crafters: September 1st marks the kick-off of our Tommy’s Pantry hat drive. We will be collecting new machine-washable store-bought or handmade hats through October 30th, 2023. This year’s goal is 100 one-size-fits-most adult and/or child hats – 25 more than last year. Hats can be dropped off at the Maple Ave Community Center Recreation Desk (ask for Danielle) during business hours, in the bin on the doorstep at 710 Devonshire Ave (Takoma Park), or at our booth at Takoma Park Street Fest on October 1st. Please see the News page on our website for more details and a copy of our free knit hat pattern.
  • StreetFest If you plan to attend Takoma Park’s Street Fest on Sunday, October 1st, please stop by the Tommy’s Pantry booth to help decorate our Giving Tree or make a festive card for our holiday food boxes. Location along Carroll Ave TBD. Street Fest hours are 10am to 5pm.
  • Fall Fundraiser! Our Tommy’s Pantry Fall Fundraiser will be Sunday, October 29th from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the Takoma Park home of our generous hosts Adrienne and Steve Tilton. The event will feature an evening of celebration, light refreshments, and distinguished speakers from our community. All proceeds from the event will go toward purchasing supplies for our 2024 distributions. Please consider supporting the longevity of our organization’s mission by purchasing a ticket today: . Together we can help alleviate food insecurity and provide health and hygiene items not covered by SNAP-EBT (food stamps) for the coming year to ensure a basic level of dignity for all who reside within our community.

Food Grant Awarded

  • With grateful hearts, we are happy to report that we were recently awarded a generous grant to purchase much-needed food staples for our pantry. This grant will see us through at least two months of our shelf-stable food distributions, allowing us to divert more budget resources toward our highest demand wellness box program. We’ve recently gotten notifications about several other grant award decision delays, so please consider donating today to help keep both our food and wellness programs going strong through the end of the year. 

Volunteer Update

Tommy’s Pantry News & Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & News page on our site

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

Receive Assistance with Food & Wellness Items

  • Family health/wellness and cleaning supplies will be distributed on Saturday, September 2nd, at 7:30 am 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.
  • Boxes of shelf-stable food and fresh fruits and vegetables will be offered on Saturday, September 16th, at 7:30 am 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 2023-2024 school year, 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.

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 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.