500 grocery boxes run out in less than an hour during Montgomery Co. food distribution

Montgomery County councilmember Will Jawando helps put boxes of groceries in cars during an event for those in need during the coronavirus on Saturday.

Cars line up for 500 boxes of free groceries for those in need during an event in Silver Spring on Saturday.

Montgomery County councilmember Will Jawando helps put boxes of groceries in cars during an event for those in need during the coronavirus on Saturday.

A woman walks with a grocery box after picking it up during a food distribution program in Silver Spring on Saturday.

Montgomery County councilmember Will Jawando helps put boxes of groceries in cars during an event for those in need during the coronavirus on Saturday.

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In just an hour, more than 500 boxes of groceries were handed out in Silver Spring, Maryland, to those in need during a local partnership. Then, they had to start turning people away.

“These are very highly impacted communities already before COVID, but now they are some of the highest ZIP codes in the state as far as cases and also food insecurity is very high,” Montgomery County councilmember Will Jawando said.

The distribution took place at the Briggs Chaney Park and Ride lot at the East County Community Recreation Center.

The councilmember’s office partnered with Kingdom Fellowship Church, Capital Area Food Bank and Montgomery Recreation to coordinate the event.

This is the third “Grab n’ Go” grocery event held by the partnership and they’ve run out of food within an hour each time.

Rev. Kendra Smith, director of outreach at Kingdom Fellowship A.M.E. Church, said that they distributed about 100 boxes to people who walked up to the event and 533 boxes total.

Smith said they had to turn away about 50 to 60 cars and about 30 people who walked up when they ran out of food.

“It just demonstrates that this pandemic, really has exacerbated the fact that many families living in this particular area were already living with food insecurity,” Smith said. “It was disheartening that we had to turn people away when we ran out,” she said.

The event was held at the White Oak Community Center the last two Saturdays. This is the first time it was held at the Briggs Chaney Park and Ride lot.

Jawando said he’s hoping to get even more assistance next week so they don’t have to turn as many people down.

“We know the need is there and so I’m hoping that I can actually work with these partners and with county government to get more food for next weekend because I know 500 boxes sounds like a lot but it goes very, very quickly,” Jawando said.


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Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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