From the Director’s Corner
As always, I start with a big thank you for your continued support of MUM’s work! We continue to see a steady increase in the numbers of people calling and coming to our office for food and to apply for emergency financial assistance. While we are able to help with eviction and utility shut-off prevention, and purchase of prescription drugs, some are seeking services and resources that we don’t currently offer, so we provide referrals and information to other organizations and resources to address their needs.
The numbers seeking food at our monthly mobile food pantry also continue to grow–we served 287 families in August and over 260 in September. What we are seeing at MUM is consistent with the experiences of others throughout our region and across the country, as shared below in the Capital Area Food Bank’s Hunger Report 2023 and Feeding America’s 2023 Elevating Voices to End Hunger Together: Insights Report, released during Hunger Awareness Month in September. Both reports highlight how many who are in need of food are actually working and that nearly a third of people in our community experienced food insecurity recently. While the data is sobering and the need is great, there are many ways to help address food insecurity, and we appreciate your continued support of MUM as we work to address not the symptoms but also the causes of food insecurity in our area.
In addition to financial contributions, MUM can always use volunteers to help at our monthly Sunday Mobile Food Pantry site, in the office, at our food storage location, and in organizing food drives and fundraising events. I have to give a shout out to the amazing volunteers at our September mobile food pantry at the Aspen Hill Christian Church who quickly helped to unload the truck, reload into other cars and unpack the food and supplies after our truck broke down just after it was heading to the site. It was an unusually hot day, and we couldn’t have served so many households without those who jumped in their cars to help transport the food and stayed longer than they had planned. If you want to join our amazing team of volunteers, see more details on our website: How You Can Help or call our office at 301-929-8675.
We are sorry that we were not able to hold our annual food drive at the Safeway in Kensington on Labor Day due to new policies that were put in place. If you were counting on donating at that event, please drop by the office instead! We have a number of events and ways that you can support MUM’s work over the coming months, and we are always open to your ideas! Thanks again for your continued interest in and support of MUM as we work to support those in our community who are struggling.
Dayna Brown, Executive Director
Community Conversation Hosted by Interfaith Works Montgomery County
Join MUM Executive Director Dayna Brown, along with Tinsae Adugna, Social Services Manager at Shepherd’s Table and Wendy Rivas, Resource Coordinator at Interfaith Works Connections, on Thursday, September 28 from 7-8 pm for an in-person panel discussing resources and programs available to assist residents of Montgomery County. The session will be facilitated by Rev. Roslyn Roberts, Director of Faith and Community Partnerships, Interfaith Works. No registration is required. Silver Spring United Methodist Church, 8900 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Capital Area Food Bank Hunger Report 2023
The Capital Area Food Bank recently released Hunger Report 2023, which includes new data showing that despite the official end of the pandemic, high levels of food insecurity persist across the Greater Washington region. Although the overall regional economic picture is appearing to improve, one in three residents – 32% – still didn’t know where their next meal would come from at some point over the past 12 months. That number is essentially unchanged since 2022.
Highlights from the report include:
- County-level information on food insecurity. In Montgomery County, 27% of residents struggled to access enough to eat.
- Data showing that food insecurity continues to disproportionately affect communities of color and households with children.
- Data underscoring hunger’s impact on health.
- Insights about the surprising economic profile of people facing hunger. Those experiencing food insecurity in our region are largely employed, educated, and middle class.
- Video interview with members of the community about their recent experiences with food insecurity.
- Recommendations for actions to address these challenges.
Feeding America Hunger Action Month
The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks is coming together this September for Hunger Action Month to encourage conversations and drive commitment to address the issue of hunger. On Hunger Action Day, September 15, Feeding America released the 2023 Elevating Voices to End Hunger Together: Insights Report, an annual snapshot of the experiences, concerns and ideas of people who had challenges putting food on the table. The report is a continuing effort to understand issues driving food insecurity and develop ideas for solutions to end hunger from the people most affected by it.
Feeding America estimates that approximately 1 in 6 people turned to charitable food assistance for additional support in 2022. A recent survey found that 80% of network food banks reported either increased or steady demand for emergency food services in June 2023. This includes almost 35% of responding food banks reporting – as MUM is experiencing – an increase in the number of people served.
Feeding America intends Hunger Action Month to be a time for everyone across the country to collectively act against hunger by donating or advocating, volunteering or raising awareness, helping to end hunger. Learn more about how you can take action by visiting HungerActionMonth.org.
Of course, the need continues beyond the month of September! We hope you’ll follow-up in the months ahead and keep supporting MUM’s efforts to support our neighbors who are experiencing food insecurity!
Mobile Pantry Supported by the County, Food Banks and Farmers
MUM is grateful that Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), through a grant to the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), continues to provide boxes of produce for distribution to our clients in our office and at our mobile food pantry. These boxes are packed with nutritious fruits and vegetables that are supplemented by non-perishable food we order from CAFB through a grant from Montgomery County, as well as donations of produce from The Garrett Park Farmers Markets, Rocking Horse Community Farms, and Manna Food Bank’s Farm to Food Bank program. We are also grateful for food drives and donations organized by faith communities and given by generous individuals. Our goal is to provide as much nutritious, culturally appropriate food as possible to our clients and we couldn’t do it without a lot of support.
Upcoming Community Events that Benefit MUM
Macy’s Selects MUM for October Charitable Campaign! Macy’s at the Westfield Wheaton Mall has selected MUM as the local charity for their Round Up Program. From October 16 through October 31, Macy’s customers are invited to voluntarily round up their purchase to the nearest dollar and donate their change to MUM! Got some Fall shopping to do? Stop by Macy’s during the campaign and help your neighbors in need while picking up something for yourself!
HalloWheaton returns to Marian Fryer Town Plaza in Wheaton on Sunday, October 29, from noon until 4 pm. Mark your calendars and join us for this day of fun for all ages! MUM will be selling wine and beer for the grown-up revelers, with all proceeds going to MUM!
The Haunted Trail on Old Scream Road brings spooky Halloween fun to 9713 Old Spring Road, Kensington MD 20895, for seven fun-filled nights – Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, October 20, 21, and 22 – and again Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, October 27, 28, and 29 – and on Halloween night, Tuesday, October 31! Guests are invited but not required to bring in-kind donations of non-perishable food or financial donations by cash or check. Those donations will go to support the work of MUM! So, head over for spooky fun!
Kensington Park Senior Living in Kensington will hold its Friendsgiving Fill the Truck event on Thursday, November 16th from 4 to 6 in the afternoon. Stop by if you can, say hi, and help to fill the truck for MUM!
MUM will once again participate in Giving Tuesday on November 28 and appreciates your support! Giving Tuesday is a global movement encouraging generosity. While it focuses on that specific date, you can contribute any time, knowing that your donations will go directly to our clients who depend on MUM for themselves and their families!
MUM Office Hours
MUM’s office hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9am to 4pm. As of September 1, 2023, the office food pantry is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am to noon and from 1 pm to 3 pm. Appointments preferred, walk-ins accepted.
To set up an appointment to apply for assistance with eviction prevention, utility shut-off prevention, and purchase of prescription drugs please email (email@example.com) or call (301-929-8675) MUM’s office, or submit your contact information online here.