Serve 2000 meals to those in need in Silver Spring

by The Shepherd's Table, Inc
Play Video
Serve 2000 meals to those in need in Silver Spring
Serve 2000 meals to those in need in Silver Spring
Serve 2000 meals to those in need in Silver Spring

 We recently spoke with Anthony, who shared his story, and his hopes and dreams for his future. His story and dedication inspire us to keep doing what we do best- provide nutritious meals, and social services to lead our clients towards self-sufficiency.

Anthony's Story

“I’ve never had an opportunity for the whole pie,” Anthony, a Shepherd’s Table client, explains. “If I had a place, I couldn’t afford food, or I have the right room but it’s too far from work.” As a native to D.C., Anthony has struggled to keep up with the cost of living in his hometown despite consistently holding a job. Anthony is working hard to support himself and pursue financial independence, but he faces the same obstacles to wealth that we see again and again in the lives of our clients.

Even in childhood, he was aware of his family’s struggle to make rent. “I’ve seen my family pushed out,” he shares, referencing the gentrification that has displaced many of D.C.’s locals. The threat of displacement made stable housing feel unlikely, as Anthony has “…always been afraid of the barriers, the high cost that makes it seem impossible to afford.” Both his parents worked against the odds to provide stability, but both also suffered privately against addiction. Anthony was emancipated from his parents at age fifteen and first found himself living on the streets at age twenty-one. Still, his resilience has proven unwavering. “I refuse to give up,” he explains. “That’s why I’m still here.”

Anthony did not have the opportunity to inherit generational wealth from his family, but he worked hard to carve out his own lot in the world. Studying at the New England Culinary Institute, he gleaned meaningful friendships, refined skills, and even a visit to a top school in New York City. However, his time at the institute was interrupted by a family emergency that brought him south. He later finished earning his certification in Virginia at the Amala Institute and still remembers the masterful blueberry crepe and accompanying omelet that earned him his license.

When Anthony found himself on the streets again this past May, he had recently secured a job utilizing his culinary training. He was thrilled to land the position but worried he’d lose his new job if he showed up to work hungry, un-showered, or without adequate rest. Having lost both of his parents several years prior, he had no place to stay and spent his nights sleeping outside Union Station. That’s when a friend directed him to Shepherd’s Table, where he immediately began receiving free meals. He quickly connected with Jerome Chambers, our Director of Social Services, and entered a housing program through our partner, Interfaith Works. Staff from both organizations were impressed with his drive to better his own life. With the support of our services and the relationships he’s built, Anthony is beginning to see a path towards “the whole pie.” 

For our Executive Director Manny Hidalgo, Anthony’s story highlights the obstacles many people in poverty face in accumulating generational wealth. Factors such as gentrification and addiction prevented his parents from accumulating wealth in their lifetimes, and Anthony has now inherited the same financial challenges. For his own three-year old son, Anthony would like more to be possible. Our direct food service has a strategic role, as Manny Hidalgo understands: “We use the food as a tool to empower individuals, to get individuals in the door so they have access to further resources they need to ultimately end the cycle of poverty.” Working in tandem with partners like Interfaith Works, the full spectrum of needs is accounted for. This provides guests with the mental space to first find rest and healing, and then to plan for the future.

Anthony is currently working with staff towards his goal of permanent and stable housing, ideally at an apartment complex in Silver Spring. He intends to gain residence in Maryland as a more affordable alternative to D.C. Eventually, he’d like to start a podcast with featured guests and donate the proceeds to community organizations like Shepherd’s Table. When he lets himself dream big, he envisions living in a beautiful luxury apartment with a gym, sharing, “I’ve never had anything nice… I’ve lived in projects all my life.” Like all people, Anthony dreams of reaching a point where the goal is not survival, but thriving. With the support of the Progress Place community, we’re confident he’ll reach that goal.   

In reflecting on his time at Shepherd’s Table, he shared, “They’ve helped me keep my job, and provided an opportunity to have some stability… I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I can go to my job and have a place to rest my head at night and food to eat.” For Anthony, self-sufficiency will look like a luxury apartment, a podcast, and providing for his son. We’re happy to come alongside Anthony in his story as he fearlessly pursues the “whole pie” of independence.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Amidst the constant stream of changes brought on by the past year, stability can feel like all but a distant memory. For those facing food and housing insecurity, this lack of stability can cause setbacks in the journey to self-sufficiency. This has been the experience for Gartee, a client of Shepherd’s Table.

Gartee is a Silver Spring local, having grown up in foster care in the area. After aging out of foster care at 18, Gartee understood that it would be difficult to avoid a life living on the streets. Driven by a love for sports and a strong work-ethic, he enrolled in school. There, he was able to run cross-country and earn enough credits for an associate’s degree. Before graduating with his bachelor’s, however, Gartee found himself struggling to stay focused on his goals. In reflecting on that era of his life, he remembers having too few responsibilities to keep him on track. Lacking the necessary accountability to anchor him to his ambitions, and he ultimately dropped out of college.

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing global recession worsened circumstances for Gartee, and he found himself in the longest stint of homelessness he’s experienced. Although motivated to find a job, the past year has brought on record high unemployment numbers that have made it nearly impossible.

When Gartee first heard of the daily meals offered at Shepherd’s Table, he recognized it as an opportunity he didn’t want to miss. “Stability is the biggest thing when it comes to being homeless,” he shared. “Food, water, shelter—that’s what everyone needs.” Gartee accurately identifies a common obstacle in the journey out of homelessness. When an individual’s most basic needs are not being met and require a person’s full attention, there’s little time or energy available to work towards larger goals. At Shepherd’s Table, we begin by meeting an immediate felt need, no questions asked, so our guests have the fuel they need to identify and work through other obstacles to their self-sufficiency.

For Gartee, our food programs provided consistent meals every day of the week, which enabled him to connect with additional resources. The dependability of daily meals is critical in the journey along the continuum of care, and yet it’s only the beginning. By providing this service, we’re able to work with our guests to identify other needs and possible solutions. For Gartee, this has enabled him to pursue independent living.

Gartee is driven and hard-working, with clear and actionable goals. “I’m taking steps to get to where I need to be,” he shared with our team. He’s focused on getting back to school and pursuing sports medicine at Maryland College, planning to ultimately work as a personal trainer. To prepare for his studies, he pours over textbooks on anatomy, physiology, and psychology, eager to learn as much as possible. His discipline and history with sports will equip him to be an excellent personal trainer. In addition to his passion for sports medicine, Gartee is a talented writer and poet. He enjoys rap and spoken word, and has used both as tools to process his experiences. He’s looking forward to living in his own apartment as he steps into this next phase of his story.

As Gartee identified, every person needs dependable food, water and shelter. By meeting these needs, Shepherd’s Table offers people like Gartee a chance to pursue their goals and step into the fullness of who they are.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook


2020 was a challenging year, but we also saw the community come together to help each other like never before. Covid-19 dealt a devastating blow to our clients, many of whom experienced loss of jobs, housing, family members and loved ones. The community rallied around everyone struggling to get by, and we were honored to be trusted by you to provide essential services and meals for our neighbors in need.

We supported hundreds of clients such as Deborah, who lost her job and home, and appreciates Shepherd's Table because there are meals for the homeless.

"And you don't even have to be homeless to receive help here," she said.

We supported Sean, who is experiencing unemployment, and finds comfort in accessing meals at Shepherd's Table. 

I’m going through a lot but at least I know food is something that I don’t have to worry about because of this place.” 

We kept our Resource Center open, reopened the Eye Clinic once we had the safety precautions in place, and launched a new program, Beyond the Table. We increased our impact in our community and served hundreds of new clients- families and children in need of prepared meals, adults in need of meals and assistance, and seniors struggling to access meals.

Your support, as a donor, volunteer, and advocate, made it all possible. Your ongoing support makes all the difference for those we are serving, and will continue to serve. Working together, we can do the impossible and make sure no one in our community spends a day hungry and hopeless. 

We hope you stay healthy, safe and warm in the coming months.


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Meal Recipient at Beyond the Table
Meal Recipient at Beyond the Table

For this report, we will share a perspective from Jan Weetjens, a regular volunteer in our Resource Center and meal programs. We spoke with Jan in July, as he has been coming in regularly to volunteer, despite COVID-19 concerns. we are grateful for him and others that have continued coming in to serve. 

Jan retired from the World Bank, with field experience in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. As he searched for volunteer opportunities close to home, he found Shepherd’s Table and connected strongly with its mission. What he likes most about Shepherd’s Table is that “People are treated like customers. It’s a small thing but very meaningful to me: whenever possible, people are offered with a choice: do you prefer the chicken or the beef? This deodorant or that one? It validates the person, their dignity, their agency, and their right to choose.

When he’s not volunteering, Jan keeps busy with leadership and life coaching, and also studies and meditates. He enjoys being part of a team that tries to make a difference for people who find themselves in situations of hardship. He appreciates it when he can relate to somebody in their mother tongue, and is moved by all the acts of kindness he sees when volunteering at Shepherd’s Table.

He enjoys seeing people take care of each other, including a couple that just got engaged. “It’s beautiful to witness that.”

Jan has continued volunteering throughout COVID-19, as he knows the need is there, and feels safe due to the serious approach Shepherd’s Table has taken to mitigating the risk for everyone. He enjoys meeting people from all different backgrounds and ages and experiences, volunteers and clients alike. “It is one of the joys of working at Shepherd’s Table.” He believes that Shepherd’s Table strives for excellence, and really sees the person and their needs: how can we be as responsive, caring and loving as possible to this person?

I get so much out of being able to connect with people. My own humanity gets affirmed when I’m here.” 

We thank all our dedicated volunteers who have made sure all our services continue during this challanging time for everyone, especially those we serve daily. As we expand our services to feed even more people, we know we couldn't do it without the incredible support we have in the community. 

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy!

In Gratitude,


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

In response to the challenging times we are living in, Shepherd's Table is committed to remain open, while taking extra precautions to minimize virus transmission. As we have done for 36+ years, we have remained open every single day, to provide basic services like meals, mail, prescription medicine, toiletires and more. While our clothes closet and eye clinic have closed temporarily, we continue to serve hot meals in "to-go" boxes twice a day and provide services in our Resource Center. Our meal services are greatly appreciated, as meal guests express their gratitude every day. 

Having transitioned to the to go meals handed out just outside our building on March 16th, we have continued to adapt the process to make it safer for staff, clients, volunteers and donors that have provided in-kind suport to supplement our meals. We rented tents to provide shelter when it rains, solicited in-kind donations of sandwiches and desserts (home made cookies, brownies, and other treats) that supplement the balanced and nutritious meals we serve. Our staff has doubled down on their dedication to serve, and luckily, we are all safe and healthy. 

We still get the support of a few volunteers per meal service, to serve an average of 350 meals per day, and are so grateful for the community support that enables us to continue serving. Our County has seen a continual rise in cases, and with our proximity to DC, Coronavirus transmission is still a concern for everyone. Our goal is support our most vulnerable populations, many of whom don't have homes, families to care for them, or jobs to provide income. We will continue to remain open as the number of people in need increase. We are a grassroots community-based organization, and will do what we can to support everyone that seeks our assistance.

We have risen to meet the need of communities around us that cannot come pick up meals, such as seniors who can't leave their house, and a neighborhood in DC that was in dire need of meals. We packaged meals every day, that are delivered to them, and are grateful to be of service to everyone that is hungry or food insecure.

Everyday, since we pivoted our programs in response to COVID-19, we are reminded of our commitment as an organization: Together Meteing Needs, Changing Lives.

We cannot do this alone- THANK YOU for your support, whether you give monthly, occassionally, or one-time. It is all appreciated! 

Stay safe, and take care of yourselves, especially as the Country starts to re-open.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Organization Information

The Shepherd's Table, Inc

Location: Silver Spring, MD - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @shepherds_table
The Shepherd's Table, Inc
Jilna Kothary
Project Leader:
Jilna Kothary
Silver Spring , MD United States

Retired Project!

This project is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in United States or in Food Security that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.