Tommy’s Pantry Monthly Update 1.21.2023: Remembering & Honoring Tommy Raskin, Increased Food Offerings, NEW Volunteer Sign Up Page, & more

Dear Takoma Park and Silver Spring families and friends,

On Monday, January 30th, we are honored to be joined by family and community members as we relaunch our regular fresh produce program. January 30th marks the third year we will be celebrating the extraordinary life and light of our namesake, Tommy Raskin, with a special distribution. That first year, our organization resolved to distribute wellness boxes as a tribute to Tommy. The boxes contain items that cannot be purchased with SNAP-EBT funds (food stamps).  

Tommy’s desire to ease suffering and ensure human dignity remains a cornerstone of our organization. Read more about the legacy of kindness Tommy Raskin leaves behind on the “Our Namesake” page of the website at https://tommyspantry.org/our-namesake. Please keep the Raskin and Bloom family in your heart and celebrate the beautiful life of Tommy with kindness and love for one another.

Sincerely,

Wendy Kent, President

NEW Latin American Sample Food Boxes & Produce

  • On Saturday, January 21st, we will distribute 220 nonperishable food boxes full of Latin American cooking staples like masa (cornmeal flour used to make tortillas), rice, shelf-stable milk, and beans. These boxes will be given out in addition to our usual monthly food boxes for a total of 24 food items to be distributed to each household. We are so grateful for this special offering from Capital Area Food Bank. If recipient feedback is positive, we plan to continue this offering whenever these boxes are available through CAFB.
  • Through our partnership with Capital Area Food Bank, Tommy’s Pantry has been able to secure twice monthly deliveries of 320 boxes of assorted fresh fruits and vegetables. Our first smaller shipment will be distributed on Monday, January 30th in honor of Tommy Raskin’s birthday. Distribution will begin at 7:30 am at 630 Silver Spring Ave, Silver Spring, MD. Vehicles and walk-ups welcome. Check the News page on our website for real-time produce updates. We plan to continue this offering twice per month throughout the new year. 

MLK Day Drive

  • Our Martin Luther King Jr. Week of Service wellness drive was a success! We are truly humbled by the generosity of our community, which so far has collected 67 maxi pad packs, 51 bags of cough drops, 55 chapstick/lip balm, 60 full-size toothpaste, and 5 containers of shelf-stable milk. THANK YOU! These products are extremely difficult to procure in large quantities right now – we could not have stocked these things without your help! Items collected will be packed into our shelf-stable and wellness boxes for distribution in February. Stay tuned to our News page and social media to learn about other in-person donation opportunities. Special thanks to TPSS Co-opPiney Branch Elementary School, Takoma Park Child Development Center, and East Silver Spring Elementary School for hosting our collection bins during the drive.

Volunteer Highlights & NEW Sign Up Page

  • We have a NEW LINK and NEW February dates available to sign up to volunteer! Visit the NEW Tommy’s Pantry Sign Up page to volunteer 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 tommyspantry@gmail.com. Ages 11 and up. Age minimum does not apply to group bookings. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c4eaca72ea1fe3-tommys#/
  • Special thanks to all of the wonderful volunteer groups we’ve gotten help from in the past month: First Church of DC, Sin Fronteras, and Girl Scout Troop 34019. We could not do this work without you! 

Tommy’s Pantry News & Social Media

  • 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.

Fundraising Spotlight: AmazonSmile & Fidelity Charitable

  • If you don’t already have allegiances elsewhere, please consider choosing Tommy’s Pantry as your AmazonSmile beneficiary. Go to smile.amazon.com to get started. When you make your regular Amazon purchases through smile.amazon.com, Amazon will give 0.5% of your purchase price to Tommy’s Pantry. Coming soon: you will also be able to use AmazonSmile to purchase high-need and hard-to-find items from the Tommy’s Pantry wish list. Thank you for your support!
  • In other fundraising news, Tommy’s Pantry is now registered with Fidelity Charitable, so if you have a giving account with Fidelity Charitable, you can elect Tommy’s Pantry as a donation recipient. 
  • And donations through our website are always welcome! Please visit tommyspantry.org to donate

Receive Assistance with Food & Wellness Items

  • Boxes of shelf-stable food (24 items!) will be offered on Saturday, January 21st, 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 tommyspantry@gmail.com in advance.
  • Boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables will be available on Monday, January 30th, at 7:30 am while supplies last. Available at the back of the Church of the Ascension, across the street from East Silver Spring Elementary (630 Silver Spring Ave, Silver Spring, MD).
  • Family health/wellness and cleaning supplies will be distributed on Saturday, February 4th, 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 tommyspantry@gmail.com 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 www.MySchoolApps.com .

Thank you so much for supporting this important community initiative.

Sasha Johnson
Secretary, Tommy’s Pantry

Wendy Kent
President, Tommy’s Pantry

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

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.