Community Spotlight: Free concerts in SE DC; gear up for Bike to Work Day

This article is sponsored by United Bank

WASHINGTON This month, the spotlight is on two events taking place in the D.C. area and one big award presented to a local organization that’s working to eliminate hunger.

Montgomery County Maryland’s Manna Food Center was recently recognized on a global stage. The organization’s chief executive officer, Jackie DeCarlo, was awarded Stop Hunger’s 2018 Women Stop Hunger Award (a 10,000 euros grant) at a ceremony in Paris.

“Montgomery County has a lot of resources, but we are experiencing the suburbanization of poverty, which means anywhere from 60,000-70,000 people are living in poverty, are not always sure where their next meal is coming from, so Manna Food Center is trying to make sure that all people in Montgomery County have access to good food,” DeCarlo said.

With the grant, Manna plans to purchase more fresh produce for its mobile pop-up pantry, Manny, and for other programs that serve residents on a weekly or monthly basis.

“We really just want to be as close to our neighbors as possible, get them the food that they need to be self-sufficient and help everybody in Montgomery County live in dignity,” DeCarlo added.

In Southeast D.C., Ayanna Smith is organizing the first PorchFest east of the Anacostia River. The May 20 event features several free musical and artistic performances — from folk to R&B — on porches in the Penn Branch neighborhood.

“I know that there’s a negative stigma associated with living east of the river, and a lot of it is based on stereotypes,” Smith said.

“So we really want to spotlight the beauty of our community and the camaraderie of our community.”

Food and dessert trucks will also be on-site; PorchFest DC runs from 1 to 6 p.m. Interested sponsors and partners can find more information on the event’s website.

May 18 marks Bike to Work Day, an annual celebration of a car-free commute. Riders can expect more than 100 pit stops and parties in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, plus freebies such as T-shirts, bagels, bike-repair kits and more — and everyone is welcome to participate.

“If you are sort of bike-commute curious, it’s a way to try it out with a lot of support,” said Colin Browne, communications director at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

“There’s a lot of visibility; it’s a day where everybody expects to see bicyclists on the road.”

Find more information on the region’s Bike to Work Day on

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