Tommy’s Pantry Monthly Update 5.25.2023: Recent events & summer volunteering

Dear Takoma Park and Silver Spring families and friends,

We at Tommy’s Pantry want to wish you a Happy Memorial Day and hope it kicks off a great summer for all. We also want to take this time to thank you for your support, your volunteer hours and your continued interest in helping our neighbors.

We have been spending the past month refreshing our website. It’s coming along and should be finished in the next few months. I’m very excited that we’ve already gone live with translator buttons for the entire site. Visitors to the site can now view content in English, Spanish and Amharic! We constantly strive to make Tommy’s Pantry more accessible to our entire community and we think this will make a significant difference. We’ve also updated our donation page and introduced Zeffy. Zeffy is specifically for non-profits and doesn’t charge us per transaction. We plan to add some fresh photos as well. If you have any from your time volunteering, please send them our way at 

We hope you were able to attend and/or support some of our many recent events. On May 7th, Claudia Rodriquez, volunteer and Tommy’s Pantry supporter extraordinaire, ran a half marathon to raise funds for Tommy’s Pantry. She not only finished her run but raised more than $3,000 for Tommy’s Pantry!

Last month, we had so much fun meeting your pets at the Tommy’s Pantry pet food and supply drive for the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) at the Takoma Park Dog Park. HRA was grateful for the  huge amounts of food, litter, toys, beds, and more that were collected. Thank you for supporting this special drive in Tommy Raskin’s honor. We hope to do another drive for pets in the fall and hope for an even bigger turnout.

And last but not least, we enjoyed a very successful fundraiser at the home of Diana and Billy Conway. They graciously offered their beautiful home, food and cheer to help us raise much needed funds to keep Tommy’s Pantry afloat. Sarah Raskin gave a beautiful speech and we were even treated to a surprise visit via Zoom from Jamie Raskin (or was that Stevie Van Zandt?). But the biggest treat of all was seeing our friends and neighbors there to support us.

We wish you all a safe and joyful Memorial Day weekend full of family, friends and good food.


Wendy Kent, President


  • Grace Studio yoga in downtown Silver Spring is hosting a benefit for Tommy’s Pantry on Saturday, June 3rd at 1pm.  There are only 25 in-studio spots so get one while you can. There are unlimited virtual spots available.
  • Celtic Underground performs @ El Golfo Monday, June 5th 5-9pm. Enjoy some delicious Latin American food while listening to Irish pub tunes featuring Tommy’s Pantry Treasurer Kathleen Bartels on the fiddle. Music is expected to start at 7 pm. 20% of proceeds will be donated to Tommy’s Pantry.

Boxes of New Chew Toys & More Collected for Humane Rescue Alliance

  • Thank you to all who joined our inaugural Pet Supply Drive on April 29th and donated dog and cat toys, beds and food! We had an excellent turnout of both humans and furry friends at the Takoma Dog Park and accumulated numerous donations for pets (& pets to-be) in need. Humane Rescue Alliance was especially glad to receive so many new dog toys.

Spring Fling Recap

  • Many thanks for Diana and Billy Conway for host our Spring Fling.  Many thanks also to Sarah Raskin and the many members of the Raskin family who attended the event.  And many, many more thanks to Congressman Raskin who Zoomed into the event.  I think everyone would agree that it was a fun and wonderful event.

Running for Tommy’s Pantry = SUCCESS!

  • On Sunday, May 7, Claudia Rodriguez successfully completed the Frederick Half Marathon to raise funds for Tommy’s Pantry. Thanks to her efforts and the generosity of her friends and family, she raised over $3,000 for Tommy’s Pantry AND she finished the race in 2:37:40, averaging 12.02 min/mile, which she says is “not bad for my second time!”.  If you’re a runner and would be willing to designate Tommy’s Pantry as the beneficiary of your race sponsorship, contact us at

Silver Spring Cello Choir Benefit

  • Thank you to all of the concertgoers and generous donors who enjoyed the Silver Spring Cello Choir Benefit on May 13th! We hope you’ll check future newsletters and our website for announcements about more upcoming concerts and performances in our honor.

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 tab, 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, June 3rd, 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, June 17th, 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.
  • Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) offers FREE summer meals to youth aged 18 years old and younger. For locations, menus, and more information about these free summer meals offered by MCPS, please visit

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.