Addressing Hunger and Vulnerability in Our Community

Donations for the 2024 Stamp Out Hunger Campaign

From the Director’s Corner

May 28th is World Hunger Day, a reminder that we all need to do what we can to end hunger in our communities and around the world. MUM’s work to address hunger in our local community is done in partnership with many other local organizations, farmers, faith communities and volunteers. I particularly want to thank Aspen Hill Christian Church, which hosts our monthly mobile food pantry in its parking lot and the Mid-County Consolidation Hub at Hughes United Methodist Church, which has provided space for MUM to store and prep our food for our food pantries.  

I am pleased that MUM was able to contribute some of our clients’ experience and data to the development of Montgomery County’s Strategic Plan to End Childhood Hunger, which was launched last fall. In April, I attended the Montgomery County End Childhood Hunger Collaborative Kickoff at the County Executive’s office. While Montgomery County is a very wealthy county, the income disparities are stark, and we have many people in our community who struggle daily to put food on the table. We see this every day in our office and at our mobile food pantry, where we are serving nearly 500 households combined each month, in addition to many who call and apply for emergency financial assistance. 

According to this report, around 14% of children – over 33,000 – experience food insecurity and thousands more are part of households that struggle to meet basic needs. Some of the barriers they face are the high cost of living in our county, difficulties navigating public benefits application processes, not knowing where or how to ask for help, and lack of access to transportation. We hear about these challenges daily from our clients, such as Maria Mejia, whose story is below. I encourage you to read this summary of the full report to better understand the challenges so many face in our county and the county’s plans to address it in partnership with organizations like MUM.  

Your support is vital in helping to end childhood hunger and to keep people in their homes with their utilities on. Thank you for all you do to support MUM and our neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table and to meet their basic needs. 

Dayna Brown, Executive Director

Meet Maria Mejia, MUM’s 15,000th Client! 

New MUM client and Food is Medicine participant Maria Mejia with MUM Program Manager Jackie Ventura

Maria Mejia is a patient at the Proyecto Salud healthcare clinic, located a few doors down from MUM’s office in Wheaton. She is being treated for pre-diabetes, fibromyalgia, and a degenerative spine condition. Originally from El Salvador, Maria currently lives with her daughter and her family. She is unemployed but helps to take care of her young grandson.

Just recently during her clinic visit, Maria noticed the MUM signs down the hall and decided to inquire about our services. Her chance encounter with MUM proved to be very impactful. First of all, Maria became the 15,000th client to be logged into MUM’s database, a noteworthy moment for MUM’s staff. But more importantly, Maria was able to receive healthy food that day, including a box of fresh produce and other vegetables. Maria was excited about her food pantry visit, as she normally can’t afford fresh foods more than twice a week. She was very grateful to have found MUM so that she can now access fresh vegetables and fruits on a regular basis.

In addition, Maria was able to sign up for MUM’s new “Healthy Food for Better Health” Food is Medicine pilot program, funded by the Healthcare Initiative Foundation and conducted in partnership with Proyecto Salud Clinic and Community FarmShare. As mentioned in our last newsletter, Food is Medicine program participants have recently been diagnosed with diabetes or are pre-diabetic. They will begin this 24-week program with nutrition education taught by a Holy Cross Health community educator. Then they will receive weekly “prescription” produce bags and healthy nonperishables. With healthier food choices and lifestyle changes, we hope to not only have a positive impact on their diabetes numbers, but to positively affect the entire household as they all adopt healthier eating habits. We are excited about kicking off this new program this week and look forward to reporting back on the life-changing outcomes for participants like Maria and their families.

Stamp Out Hunger was a Success!

Thanks to the many volunteers who helped to pick up, sort and organize the food collected during the Stamp Out Hunger food drive on May 11th. We are also grateful to The Mid-County Consolidation Hub at Hughes United Methodist Church, which allowed us to use their space for the event. Through this wonderful partnership with seven local post offices, we collected over 7,000 pounds of non-perishable food!

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MUM Board Members and Volunteers sorting food donations from 2024 Stamp Out Hunger

Partnerships with Local Farmers and Farmers Markets

MUM is very grateful for our partnership with local farmers and farms through a variety of programs and partnerships. HarvestShare is an all-volunteer organization that works with local community gardeners to grow food and donate to food assistance organizations like MUM. Through this program, the Rocking Horse Community Farm donated over 1,320 pounds of locally grown produce to MUM through weekly deliveries in 2023!

Throughout the growing season, MUM also gets donations from the Garrett Park farmer’s market run by Chicano Sol Farm. Last year, we received over 2,000 pounds of fresh produce, which we were able to provide to clients in our office and mobile food pantries. We appreciate the volunteers from Holy Cross Church in Garrett Park who help to collect the donations weekly.  

Jackie Ventura, MUM’s Program Manager, picking lettuce at the Chicken of the Woods Farm

MUM staff have also been able to visit several Montgomery County farms that grow food for MUM and other food providers through our partnership with Manna Food Center’s Farm to Food Bank Program. Recently Jackie Ventura, MUM’s Program Manager, visited the Chicken of the Woods Permaculture Farm, a 5-acre suburban farm bordering Seneca Creek State Park in Darnestown. She met the farmer, Bridgett Downer, who is committed to not only grow her own food and sell excess, but to adhere to permaculture ethics: people care, earth care, limiting growth, and returning the surplus. Bridgett is one of the local farmers selling locally sourced, high nutrient dense fresh produce to Manna for distribution by food providers like MUM. 

Bridgett gave a tour of the farm where Jackie and other participants visited her friendly free-range chickens and the raised greenhouses where they got to pick radishes, beets, lettuces, mustard greens, kale, seasonal herbs, and carrots. They also visited her food forest where she has planted dwarf fruit trees and swales that truly incorporate the permaculture designs. Jackie said it was amazing to see how Bridgett has incorporated a permaculture design model of trash removal, partnering with Trout Unlimited and WVU for acid mine drainage mitigation, pond building, windbreak/fruit/nut tree plantings and the construction of an Earthship Hut.

GMU Honors College Connects Supports MUM Operations

Executive Director Dayna Brown with Ali Motamedi and Hannah Zimmerman at George Mason University’s Honors College Connects presentation.

MUM’s Executive Director Dayna Brown attended the George Mason University Honors College Spring Exhibition and Awards ceremony to see the presentation by a group of four students who worked with MUM this spring semester. This student Honors College Connects consulting team researched, compared, and recommended software to help MUM streamline various aspects of our operations through digitization, online platforms, and the use of software. They produced recommendations to help us better track and manage our grants, client cases, volunteers, and inventory. We appreciate their hard work and the valuable recommendations we plan to implement very soon. 

Taste of Wheaton June 2

Taste of Wheaton returns on Sunday, June 2, from 11am to 5pm at Marian Fryer Town Plaza in downtown Wheaton (2424 Reedie Drive, Wheaton, MD 20902). 

Get a “taste” for all Wheaton has to offer, including delicious food, live entertainment, kids’ rides and activities, dance from local performers, and arts and crafts from a curated list of artisans. MUM volunteers will be managing the beer and wine garden with all proceeds going to MUM. The event will take place rain or shine.

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