MUM Volunteers Keep Us Going!

MUM Volunteers Keep Us Going!

From the Director’s Corner

A lot has changed in the two years since I joined MUM as its Executive Director in April 2022.  MUM has significantly increased the amounts and variety of food available for our clients to choose from, particularly fresh produce which now accounts for more than half of what each household gets each month. Thanks to grants from the Montgomery County government, Manna Food Center and the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), we now have three large double-sided refrigerators and a freezer which enable us to purchase and receive donations of more fresh produce and perishable foods. We continue to receive produce boxes and recently received another grant to purchase food through June from the Capital Area Food Bank, both funded by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.  

MUM has also expanded our partnerships for donations of produce and recovered food and for sourcing fresh produce from local Montgomery County farmers. We are now starting a Food as Medicine program targeting clients who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes to provide fresh local produce, healthy non-perishable foods, nutrition and wellness education and peer support to better manage and hopefully reverse their diabetes.  This is MUM’s first new program created through a partnership with Proyecto Salud and Community FarmShare and funded by the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (a funder also new to MUM).  

After our office food pantry reopened in 2022, we are now helping 150-200 households access food there each month. While we have had to reduce the number of mobile food pantry sites after the end of pandemic era funding, at our monthly mobile food pantry in Aspen Hill we provide 40-50 pounds of food to over 300 households. Many clients who previously came to our other mobile sites now come to Aspen Hill or to the office monthly to access the food pantries.

We also continue to see a steady increase in people seeking emergency financial assistance as people struggle with the high costs of rent, utilities, food, gas and other needs in our area. MUM has already exhausted the grants from Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services and Interfaith Works to help prevent evictions and utility shut-offs for this fiscal year. While MUM has also successfully increased our grant funding in the last two years, it is not nearly enough to meet the demand and we rely on fundraising and financial donations to fund our emergency assistance programs and the staff to provide those services. 

MUM hired Jackie Ventura last October to be our part-time bilingual program manager to oversee our programs and volunteers and to help us better serve the large number of Spanish speaking clients.  We were grateful to receive a capacity building grant from the Capital Area Food Bank to cover the first six months of this new position. MUM continues to seek grant funding and donations to fund and expand our staffing to meet the increased demand for our services, to expand our programming, and to sustain MUM’s operations.  

What hasn’t changed is our reliance on and commitment from so many wonderful volunteers, including several new Spanish speaking volunteers in our office and at our mobile food pantry! We are particularly appreciative of the years of service that Andrew Arai has given to MUM, and while we are excited about his new job and opportunities in Utah, we will miss him greatly. Andrew has helped with our mobile pantry, data entry, and stepped in as the Interim Executive Director of MUM before I came on board. I am immensely grateful to him for helping me get up to speed and for all the time and effort he has given to MUM for the past eight years.

On that note, we want to thank our many volunteers during National Volunteer Week which is celebrated annually during the third week of April. MUM could not help our neighbors without the dedication of so many wonderful volunteers!  

Thanks again to our many donors and partners who support MUM’s programs and clients! Happy Spring!

Dayna Brown, Executive Director

Kensington Day of the Book Festival

The Woman’s Club of Kensington will support MUM at the Kensington Day of the Book Festival on April 21, hosting a bake sale with all proceeds going to support MUM! The 17th annual festival will be held on Howard Avenue from 11am to 4pm, with several interesting local authors including George Pelicanos and Nadia Hashimi. Come enjoy food trucks, music, and talks by several authors. The family friendly street festival is held rain or shine, so please stop by the Woman’s Club of Kensington table and purchase a sweet treat benefiting MUM! 

Help MUM to Stamp Out Hunger on May 11th and 12th!

Stamp Out Hunger 2024

Started in 1993, the annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has become the nation’s largest one-day food drive. During their deliveries on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect nonperishable food donations to benefit local food pantries like MUM. 

On May 11, MUM will once again be a beneficiary of this tremendous effort to address food insecurity in our community. Last year, mail carriers from 7 local post offices collected 9,278 pounds of food for us to distribute to our clients.

We need your help again this year to make this food drive a success! On Saturday, May 11, volunteer drivers will collect the food from 7 local post offices and bring it to the gym at Hughes United Methodist Church at 10700 Georgia Avenue near Wheaton. Volunteers will sort and help us to store the food on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.  

Here’s what you can do –

(1) NOW – Sign up here! to help MUM to collect, sort, and store donations between 5pm and 11 pm on May 11th or 12pm and 6pm on May 12th!

(2) ON MAY 11 – leave nonperishable food donations for pick up on your doorstep by your letter carrier. See what’s needed here!

(3) ON MAY 11 and 12 – help MUM to collect, sort, and store donations at the time you signed up for through MUM Stamp Out Hunger Volunteer Sign-up 2024!

MUM counts on Stamp Out Hunger to increase our much-needed supply of nonperishables going into the summer months. Please consider helping us Stamp Out Hunger in our community. This is a great volunteer opportunity for parents and older children to serve together and help people right in their own neighborhood.

Honoring MUM’s Amazing Volunteers

Dayna with volunteer service members from Walter Reed at MUM’s Mobile Food Pantry in Aspen Hill

We want to thank our many volunteers during National Volunteer Week, which is celebrated this year from April 21 to 27. MUM relies on office volunteers to help clients access the office food pantry, enter client data in our database, sort donations, help with acknowledging donors, pick up food donations, and so much more. We have had over 160 people volunteer for more than a thousand hours in 2024! Special shout out to Terrill Marshall, who has been a mainstay in managing our donor database and acknowledging gifts from donors for many years. Andrew Arai, referenced earlier in Dayna’s comments, worked with his wife Rita beginning around 2017, helping at MUM’s storage unit and managing student volunteers. Yet he was surprised the first time he attended a mobile pantry – just after the pandemic started – to see 40 or 50 people standing in line waiting for food assistance. Seeing this level of need here in the United States was a motivator for him to become even more involved! These are just examples of the many volunteers that MUM relies on to accomplish our mission. THANK YOU to every volunteer!

You can help!

Interfaith Works Volunteer Resource Fair

Visit the MUM table and join us to learn more about other volunteer opportunities around Montgomery County! Sign up here: Interfaith Works Volunteer Resource Fair Tickets, Sat, May 18, 2024 at 10:00 AM | Eventbrite

Giving to MUM is easy!

Here’s how to make a financial donation. | Here’s how you can help by volunteering

MUM Office Hours

MUM’s office is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9am to 4pm. The office food pantry is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm.Appointments are preferred; walk-ins will be accepted. 

Clients needing food assistance on Tuesdays please visit:
Mid-County Consolidation Hub atHughes United Methodist Church

10700 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20902
301-949-8383. Se habla Español.
Open every Tuesday from 9:30am to 12:30pm.
Face masks are MANDATORY. Bring ID and grocery bags.

Appointments to apply for financial assistance for eviction prevention, utility shut-off prevention, and emergency prescription drugs can be made by contacting the MUM office by telephone at 301-929-8675 or by email at