A true model of community service: Meals on Wheels of Takoma Park/Silver Spring partners with local eateries for mutual support
TAKOMA PARK — Local businesses and nonprofits, including Meals on Wheels of Takoma Park/Silver Spring, have had their share of challenges during the pandemic, but with quick thinking and a mission that leaves no one behind, an innovative idea became reality for the local Meals on Wheels and Takoma Park/Silver Spring eateries. The nonprofit’s Executive Director Ruth Masterson created a win-win solution to support local restaurants without costing them a penny, by simply asking them to include Meals on Wheels information in their carry out bags. The idea has been a hit!
“We recognize that restaurants are hard-hit by the pandemic. We wanted to support local businesses, and also invite their support without asking them to give us any money in the usual model of fundraising,” said Masterson. “We are thankful for our community’s restaurants caring about our community enough to support Meals on Wheels of Takoma Park/Silver Spring, even during these difficult times.”
“Restaurants have synergy with our work because we are all feeding people in our community. We and they are nurturing people in our community with lovingly-prepared, high-quality food.”
“Meals on Wheels Takoma Park/Silver Spring is doing such great work for our community residents, we wanted to step up and support their fundraising campaign. All Set [chose] to show solidarity with them being a critical community resource,” said Bill Rawls, Assistant General Manager, All Set Restaurant & Bar. “The pandemic has indeed hampered so many businesses and families, but Meals on Wheels is a great place to give back.”
The restaurants that have joined the partnership are Cielo Rojo, El Golfo, Mark’s Kitchen, Olive Lounge, Roscoe’s, and Takoma BevCo in Takoma Park, and All Set, El Gavilan, La Malinche, Mamma Lucia, and Meleket in Silver Spring. Each is including Meals on Wheels materials in their carry out order bags to invite support for the local charity.
In turn, Meals on Wheels Takoma Park/Silver Spring is enthusiastic about encouraging neighbors to support these local restaurants. “It was definitely worth our time to connect with community businesses. It has been such a pleasure to be able to have that personal, more direct connection with restaurant owners and managers,” said Sara Robb, Meals on Wheels TPSS Research & Outreach Coordinator. “No one said no. It’s nice to know there is a capacity for restaurants to give to other organizations that are
also set up to nourish the community.”
“The range of cuisines is just delightful and the food at them is outstanding,” says Masterson. “We have excellent offerings from American, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian, Italian, and Spanish cuisines. I’ve been enjoying getting to know these new venues myself, and encourage everyone to support them, and us, by trying them out. Every meal I’ve had at each of our partners has been outstanding. I look forward to including even more partners in this program in 2022 – and enjoying great meal take-out or delivery.”
Meals on Wheels TPSS relies on individual donations from the community to cook, package, and deliver meals to residents in need in Takoma Park, Silver Spring, and parts of Prince George’s County. With families unable to visit and provide food to loved ones who are homebound, the pandemic has doubled their client base. Thanks to the restaurant partnership, Meals on Wheels Takoma Park/Silver Spring has increased community awareness, which brings in not just donations, but also new volunteers and clients.
In 2021, Meals on Wheels TPSS prepared and delivered 49,744 meals, an increase over the 42,575 meals delivered in 2020. During the pandemic, the program has filled a gap, allowing residents to stay in their homes and safely distance. With continued support from existing and new donors and volunteers, Meals on Wheels Takoma Park/Silver Spring can continue to serve community members.
For more information, contact Ruth Masterson at email@example.com or 301-434-1922. Press release also available at www.mowtakoma.org/updates.
Meals on Wheels of Takoma Park/Silver Spring serves anyone who is homebound and lives in Takoma Park; Silver Spring inside the beltway; Adelphi; Langley Park; and Chillum. It serves freshly prepared, piping hot, delicious meals from its commercial kitchen daily with the help of volunteers. Celebrating 50 years, it has operated as an independent 501(c)(3) since 1971; donations are tax-deductible.