From the Director’s Corner
MUM could not provide food and emergency financial assistance to our neighbors in need without the many volunteers that we rely on to help at our monthly Sunday Mobile Food Pantry in Aspen Hill, in the MUM office, and in organizing food drives and fundraising events! And now we have the chance to celebrate with those volunteers at our Volunteer Appreciation and FUNdraising Event on November 10 at Babycat Brewery at 10241 Kensington Parkway in Kensington! Please join us from 6 until 8pm, when Babycat will donate 10% of the evening’s proceeds to MUM! This will be a fun chance to celebrate, support MUM, and enjoy some time together!
So far this year, nearly 300 volunteers have given over 2,200 hours of their time with MUM to support our neighbors! We have a core group of about 20 volunteers who consistently help with our mobile food pantry and in the MUM office. Many others, including some of our clients and students who can earn community service hours, give their time and talents to help MUM accomplish its mission. We truly could not make an impact in our community without their contributions.
Below is a reflection from one of our steadfast volunteers, Melanye Parcells, who has helped with our Mobile Food Pantry in all kinds of weather and who has recently started to volunteer in our office, too. If you want to join our amazing team of volunteers, see more details on our page “Volunteer with MUM” or call our office at 301-929-8675.
Thanks again to all of our fantastic volunteers who make a world of difference in our community! We hope you will come out and celebrate them and help MUM to raise much-needed funds to support the many people in our community who are struggling to make ends meet.
Dayna Brown, Executive Director
In October 2020, I found MUM at the Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s Montgomery 50+ opportunities website. I have volunteered for 3 years, primarily at the Sunday Mobile Food Pantry. Volunteering at the outdoor Mobile Food Pantry has given me a connection with the community. Each week I am amazed by the outreach from the community gardens, donating wonderful vegetables, herbs, and greens. The coordinators, staff and volunteers unload the truck, set up tables of perishable and non-perishable food items, and greet each person as they register before moving through the line filling their bags with nourishing food.
Volunteering with MUM has been very gratifying to me. In fact, I often gain more than I give, by allowing me to contribute to a worthwhile cause. I help people in need. All of the volunteers, including many middle and high school students, have the opportunity to communicate and build bonds with others while also building self-confidence. Working with MUM has reinforced the value of orderliness and hard work. Many pounds of food are distributed at the Mobile Food Pantry. The volunteers and staff put it all together and get the job done, focusing on providing the ingredients for nourishing meals. We persevere as a group in good weather, horribly cold, windy, wet weather, as well as hot and humid summer weather. We work together and get through it for the people needing food.
It has been a pleasure volunteering with the MUM outdoor Mobile Food Pantry. I appreciate the opportunity to serve and give back to those in need. The gratification of knowing I was able to help put food on the table for others is very rewarding. I now understand that food security is the foundation for everything. If people have food for their family – by using the pantry if needed – they can think about getting a better job, helping their kids with homework, working on relationships, etc. Without food security, everything is a much bigger struggle.
The Directors, staff, and Mobile Food Pantry coordinators are so welcoming and friendly to the volunteers. The system is well planned. The work MUM does for the community is wonderful.
Melanye Parcells, MUM Volunteer
MUM in the Community
The numbers of people that MUM helps continue to grow – we helped over 450 households access fresh produce and non-perishable food in the MUM office food pantry and at our Mobile Food Pantry in Aspen Hill in October. We also spent over $7,000 to help families keep their electricity, gas and water on. Two of these families were especially grateful when we were able to get their power turned back on within a couple of hours after it had been shut off for several days due to overdue bills. Several of our clients shed tears of relief when they found out that we were able to help them weather their financial crises. They are facing many challenges including loss of jobs, caregiving for sick children and parents, rising costs, and illnesses. MUM not only helps them to address their immediate crises, but also connects them to other resources and programs to address their long-term challenges, such as rental assistance, other food sources, legal assistance, food stamps, health services, and other programs and benefits.
As highlighted previously, what we are seeing at MUM is consistent with the experiences of others throughout our region and across the country, as outlined in the CAFB 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 have experienced food insecurity recently.
Community FarmShare Pilot Improves Access to Nutritious Produce for MUM’s Clients
We’ve all been affected by high prices at the grocery store and seen our grocery bills climb higher than what we’re comfortable with. For MUM’s clients, these high costs present an even greater challenge, as there’s no margin in their grocery budgets when household resources are already stretched thin. For many, buying local produce may not even be an option because of higher costs than industrially produced food. But at MUM we believe everyone has a right to good healthy food and that it is important for the long-term health and well-being of our clients. That’s why we seized a unique opportunity to invest in a pilot partnership program with a Montgomery County nonprofit called Community FarmShare.
Founded in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, Community FarmShare helps reduce food insecurity, particularly in vulnerable communities like those served by MUM. Community FarmShare aggregates fresh produce from a network of Montgomery County farmers with the goal of getting that produce to residents in need. This summer, MUM invested in a pilot program that enabled the farm network to plant early in the growing season, then later provide a harvest for us to purchase and distribute to our clients.
MUM invested a total of $2,500, and more than half of those funds were provided by a local food grant from the Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience & Access Coalition (MAFRAC). Community FarmShare provided a match of $1,500, allowing MUM to expand our buying capacity to purchase a total of $4,000 worth of locally grown produce. So far in this program, we have been able to provide nearly 670 pounds of fresh local produce to 287 households in underserved communities, affecting nearly 900 individuals!
MUM’s partnership with Community FarmShare has improved our ability to ensure that underserved community members have access to nutritious produce on a consistent basis when they visit our office and mobile food pantry. Offering fresh foods is important to MUM, as well as to our clients. Quality nutrition helps people better manage their health and prevent chronic diseases, and also helps children learn and perform better in school.
MUM’s relationship with Community FarmShare has also given us the opportunity to support small local farms, including BIPOC farms, in Montgomery County, and enabled us to play a role in strengthening our local food system, while enhancing food equity in our neighborhoods. MUM looks forward to continuing our work with Community FarmShare to support the health and well-being of our community.
Upcoming Community Events that Benefit MUM
MUM looks forward to recognizing all our wonderful volunteers – who make MUM’s work possible – at our Volunteer Appreciation and FUNdraising Event at Babycat Brewery in Kensington on November 10 from 6 til 8 in the evening. Babycat will donate 10% of the evening’s proceeds to MUM! Volunteers will get a free drink on MUM! Babycat is a family friendly venue, so kids are welcome! Plan to join us at 10241 Kensington Parkway in Kensington for this fun event!
Kensington Park Senior Living in Kensington will hold its annual Friendsgiving Fill the Truck event on Thursday, November 16th from 4 to 6pm. Stop by 3620 Littledale Road, Kensington to meet your neighbors and to help to fill the truck for MUM with donations of non-perishable items, $25 Giant or Safeway gift cards, or checks made payable to “MUM”.
Giving Tuesday will be here on November 28! 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 when they are facing crises. Help us make this Giving Tuesday a rallying day for MUM and for our clients by giving generously!
And thanks again to everyone who participated in the Macy’s round up program during October, and in the festivities at HalloWheaton and the Haunted Trail on Old Scream Road! Volunteers and revelers alike had fun and all that fun helped MUM!
- Healthy Holidays Cooking Class on Wednesday, November 8th from 5pm to 6:30pm at the Capital Area Food Bank Kitchen.
- WMATA Metro Lift Program. Metro Lift is a reduced fare program for DC, Maryland, and Virginia customers enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The program is designed to expand access, increase affordability, and advance equity for people across the region. SNAP recipients now qualify for 50% off Metrobus and Metrorail rides through WMATA’s Metro Lift Program. To learn more about how to enroll online or in-person, visit WMATA Metro Lift.
- Interfaith Works Community Conversation: Advocating for People Experiencing Homelessness. Thursday, November 16 from 7-9pm at the Mid-County Regional Service Center, 2425 Reedie Drive, Wheaton MD 20902. Registration is required. Register here.
MUM Office Hours
MUM’s office hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9am to 4pm. 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.
Note the MUM office and office food pantry will be closed to accommodate holidays as follows:
- CLOSED Wednesday and Thursday, November 22 and 23.
- CLOSED: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, December 26, 27, and 28.
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.