Monthly Update 9.23.2023: Fall Fundraiser Call to Action

Dear Takoma Park and Silver Spring families and friends,

At Tommy’s Pantry, we believe in the power of community support, especially during challenging times. Our mission is rooted in providing essential resources to those in need, and we’re reaching out to you today with both gratitude and a call to action.

As many of you are aware, the recent expiration of the child tax credit has created a new crisis, impacting millions of vulnerable children and families across our nation. The loss of this critical financial aid, coupled with rising food costs and high rents, has sadly pushed many children into poverty. Nationally, it’s estimated that 5.1 million children are now at risk of falling into poverty (reported by the Washington Post 9/12/23), and in our local area, the numbers are equally alarming, with an estimated 1 in 3 people facing food insecurity (Statistics reported by Capital Area Food Bank).

This situation serves as a stark reminder that government support programs can change, and it underscores the importance of grassroots community organizations like Tommy’s Pantry. We must remain well-funded and ready to step in when needed most. Our commitment to serving our neighbors remains unwavering, but we cannot do it alone.

Please celebrate your role in keeping Tommy’s Pantry well-funded for 2024 by joining us for our upcoming Fall Fundraiser on Sunday, October 29th, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. This event is a chance for us to come together, strengthen our bonds, and raise funds that will ensure Tommy’s Pantry can continue to provide essential food and wellness supplies to those who rely on us.

Event Details:

Date: Sunday, October 29th
Time: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: Takoma Park, MD 20912
Tickets: Secure your spot by purchasing a ticket at:

Your support will directly impact our ability to meet the increased demand for assistance in these uncertain times. By attending our Fall Fundraiser, you’re not only helping us bridge the gap left by changing government programs but also affirming the strength of our compassionate community.

Please remember that every contribution, whether through attending the event or making a donation, brings us one step closer to ensuring that no neighbor goes without the essential resources they need.

Thank you for your continued generosity and dedication to our mission. Together, we can make a lasting impact and provide a safety net for those in our community who need it most.


Wendy Kent, President

Upcoming Events:

  • Handmade/New Hat Drive: Calling all local crafters! Our Tommy’s Pantry hat drive is in full swing. We are collecting new machine-washable store-bought or handmade hats until October 30th, 2023. This year, our goal is to gather 100 one-size-fits-most adult and/or child hats – that’s 25 more than last year! You can drop off hats at the Maple Ave Community Center Recreation Desk (ask for Danielle) during business hours, leave them in the bin on the doorstep at 710 Devonshire Ave (Takoma Park), or bring them to our booth at Takoma Park Street Fest on October 1st. For more details and a free knit hat pattern, please visit the News page on our website.
  • StreetFest: If you plan to attend Takoma Park’s Street Fest on Sunday, October 1st, please make sure to visit the Tommy’s Pantry booth. Join us in decorating our Giving Tree or creating festive cards for our holiday food boxes. The Tommy’s Pantry tent will be located near the gazebo across from 7050 Carroll Ave (Fair Days Play). Street Fest hours are from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Fall Fundraiser: Mark your calendars! Our Tommy’s Pantry Fall Fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday, October 29th, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Join us at the Takoma Park home of our generous hosts, Adrienne and Steve Tilton, for an evening of celebration, light refreshments, and distinguished speakers from our community. All proceeds from this event will be dedicated to purchasing supplies for our 2024 distributions. Please consider supporting our organization’s mission by purchasing a ticket today at Together, we can combat food insecurity and provide essential health and hygiene items not covered by SNAP-EBT (food stamps), ensuring a basic level of dignity for all in our community.

Onsite Little Free Pantry NOW OPEN:

  • Eagle Scout candidate Ian Sellar and Boy Scouts from Troop 33 constructed a new Little Free Pantry at our Tommy’s Pantry home at 630 Silver Spring Ave. We are so grateful to offer a 24-hr onsite resource for food, hygiene, and cleaning items in the Tommy’s Pantry neighborhood. If you are able, please consider donating to help keep our Little Free Pantry full.

Volunteer Update:

  • New volunteer opportunities for October have been added to our volunteer Sign Up! Visit the Tommy’s Pantry Sign Up page To join us in alleviating food insecurity in our community, visit the Tommy’s Pantry Sign Up page at Students can earn SSL hours.
  • Additionally, you can inquire about group volunteer bookings for November and December by emailing Sarah at Ages 11 and up.
  • Weekday volunteers with muscle are 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 if interested and for more info. 
  • 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, October 7th, 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, October 21st, 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.
  • 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.