ROCKVILLE, Md. (ABC7) — A couple of days before the state of Maryland closed down, a Montgomery County non-profit ‘So What Else’ (SWE) shifted to emergency response.
The motto for the organization has always been “It takes a community to serve a community.” They stimulate volunteerism with the youth in Maryland, and get involved in different community programs. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, they changed the mission a bit.
They assigned all full-time staff members full-time positions such as food recovery, outreach to current clients, distribution set up, and safety directors. Since that day, the group’s work has grown exponentially every day from 3,568 children last year to now over 55,000 individuals in the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas.
During the pandemic, SWE has served 3.1 million meals. Each week, they serve 55,000 meals out of their Rockville headquarters.
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On May 18, SWE opened a walk-up pantry that now serves 450 families per week, Monday thru Friday.
These days, they reach 85 neighborhoods weekly, distributing in communities of need. They average 600 meals per distribution.
And it’s not just about food. SWE has handed out over a hundred thousand baby supplies and 42,000 PPE.
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They have connected with 550 new volunteers post-COVID and have accepted and handed out over 165,000 toys, books, bags of clothing, household items, and toiletries.
Executive Director and Co-founder Dave Silbert says they have done this because the needs of neighbors and the elderly served is so great.
His non-profit organization was able to make this shift because he says they all believe in service and wanted to be on the front lines of this humanitarian crisis from day one.
Whether it’s 5.5 million pounds of food for distribution or 80 virtual classes a week, Silbert and his volunteers have turned into true heroes in the community.
To learn more about So What Else, visit their website here.