Mid-County United Ministries (MUM), which since 1996 has provided a safety net for the working poor, the disabled, the elderly on fixed incomes, and the unemployed, is facing significant challenges during this emergency.

Focused on the necessity of protecting both clients and staff in the midst of stay-at-home orders, physical distancing requirements and food shortages, MUM has announced that for the month of April 2020, its main office is closed, while Sunday mobile pantry hours will continue. See the full announcement here in English and Spanish. During this time, MUM will be checking voicemail daily and returning all phone calls. If there is a need to schedule an appointment to further meet the need of a caller, one will be scheduled either by phone or in person.

Also affected by the COVID-19 crisis is the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive sponsored by the Letter Carriers for the U.S. Postal Service. This is the day when our neighbors put nonperishable food items on their doorsteps to be collected by our letter carriers. MUM has typically received over 25,000 pounds of food from the Stamp Out Hunger drive each year since 2014. This year’s drive, scheduled for May 9, has been postponed and not yet rescheduled. So, it is unclear when MUM may be able to rely on those donations to help our neighbors in need.

At the same time, food and monetary donations are down, as all of our neighbors understandably deal with the realities of their own day-to-day lives. Our neighbors in need, however, are likely to suffer more than any of us during this crisis. MUM Executive Director Larry White sent an appeal letter to MUM friends throughout the community last week. This letter highlights the important role MUM plays for so many in our community and asks for your financial contributions.

Along with the appeal letter, Larry shared this story –

MUM has been able to remain open in the wake of this worldwide coronavirus pandemic. As you’re aware, everyone is affected as many businesses have reduced their hours of operation or have completely shut down. At MUM, we have wisely put protocols in place to do our part to reduce the virus’ spread while respecting social distancing. As a result, we have been very busy assisting clients who need the food from our pantry.

On Wednesday, March 18 a man came in for the first time to obtain food for his family. His situation was quite compelling, but perhaps not totally unique. He lives in our service area and for years has made his living as a taxi driver in D.C. But with everything shutting down in Washington, he’s seen his customer base dwindle to the point where basically he has no customers. MUM was able to help him with food including a huge cabbage from our newly acquired refrigerator. He was so pleased that MUM was open and able to help him get the supply of food he needed for his family.

As he was leaving the office he told me, “You know what is so difficult about this? This is usually the season when I make the most money. People are not coming to see the Cherry Blossoms. I don’t know what I am going to do.”

This story highlights the importance MUM plays in our community. Without your gracious donations to MUM we would not be in a position to assist those who need it the most. Thank you for your generosity. Together we can get through this difficult time.

As we face this unfamiliar reality of COVID-19 together, PLEASE remember our neighbors in need by donating to allow MUM to continue its work!