350 Montgomery County (350MoCo) is the local affiliate of 350.org, a worldwide climate action organization whose political strategy centers on building political coalitions between white citizens and people of color to define the way forward for societies dealing with climate change. Through this approach, 350.org works at the crossroads of climate justice and social justice. We actively reach out to immigrant, Latinx, black and youth communities, to understand their concerns and learn how we can help them and figure out how we can together bring about a County that's more equitable and more resilient to all the shocks coming our way from climate change. 350MoCo is focused not just on delivering services to the marginalized communities in the greater Takoma Park area, but to building their political power as well.
The vision of Conexo is to be the co-creators of a strong and empowered neighborhood where everyone contributes with as many of their gifts as they can to each other and to the whole. Their mission is to give rise to a sacred place in which people feel valued, connected to others, and have a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves. The neighborhood becomes a place where stories are told, gifts are given and suffering is shared to strengthen the bond within its members. Conexo follows the philosophy that community members are the best authority on their own mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Conexo will be using the capacity of area residents to improve their well-being in collaboration and partnership with organizations and institutions that work/support Long Branch to build a resilient and abundant community. Conexo’s members are mostly Hispanic immigrants from Central America living in the Long Branch area of Silver Spring and share the same language and culture of those they are trying to help. Having the cultural competency will allow them to obtain information and connect with isolated community members from any minority group. They are by themselves a force.
Cross Community's (CC) mission is to advance equity and racial reconciliation in Montgomery County, Maryland through meeting food insecurity needs, education, cultivating the practice of hospitality, and by helping the faith community become more effective in these endeavors. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic CC has been providing heathy and culturally appropriate food to over 1000 households on a weekly basis. In order to accomplish this, we have created a cooperative system of non-profit organizations, public agencies, and food vendors to feed households every week at multiple distribution sites around the county. In addition, CC has been a primary partner to establish educational equity and enrichment hubs to meet the needs of low-income, highly impacted households in order to provide a safe and supportive place for their children to participate in virtual learning. Providing wraparound food support as well as educational and health and wellness enrichment opportunities for these students and their families.
The mission of Digital Bridge USA is to empower communities and individuals through access, use and training in Information technology. We provide Technology skills training including introduction to computers, Microsoft Office Programs, Internet and Social Media. Our target population is immigrants, largely from African countries, adults, seniors and youth as well as other members of Montgomery County without digital skills. We have always provided our programs in collaboration with other local community organizations including Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC), Adventist Community Center, and Long Branch Community Center. These organizations have provided us training space and other logistics for our training. We continue to seek out more organizations to collaborate with us.
In the remote context, we aim to provide school supplies for nearly 900 children throughout the year, to ensure all our students are ready to learn. We have already supplied over $1,200 in supplies and anticipate needing to provide another $3,000 worth this school year. We also provide glasses for students.
We are working with our school libraries and MCPL to improve access to physical books while the school libraries remain closed. To bridge the current access gap, we want to purchase and transform retired Washington Post newspaper boxes to create cost-effective little lending libraries around our school neighborhoods.
Our parents, mainly Spanish-speakers, rely heavily on in-person communication with school staff. With school closed, we are planning safe, distanced events such as the winter clothing fair that also provides a chance to interact, hear how families are doing, and gather their questions and concerns to share with leaders and staff.
Small Things Matter is dedicated to serving marginalized and immigrant populations as well as the elderly with our food, literacy and crafting for charity programs. Our food program in particular has grown greatly in response to the increased need brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have many partnerships in place which strengthens the robustness of the types and quality of food that we can provide to families. These partnerships have helped provide hot meals, frozen casseroles and baked goods, fresh produce and dairy items, USDA produce boxes, rice and beans, books, handmade items, and more to those in need through in-kind donations, fundraising, and grants. The STM team is composed of 100% intergenerational members with teens and retirees working side by side. The teens run the food pantry distributions, the book distributions, and the crafting for charity activities, while the adults run the produce and hot meal distributions.
A General Operating Support Grant would utilize the funds as follows:
- Meeting Platform and Supplies: Purchase of Zoom virtual platform license to host Board meetings and virtual General PTO meetings and family engagement with the TEC community during this time of social distancing.
- Food and Refreshments: Provide food (pizza, fruit, snacks, drinks) for socially distant outdoor TEC community gatherings that offer the chance for families to connect with other parents/caregivers, students, teachers, and staff.
- Language Justice: Our community includes a large number of Spanish and Amharic-speaking families. The TEC PTO's goal is to engage more families in their home languages through school signage and PTO communication, and to bring more families into equity discussions. Funds would be used for things like translation, interpretation, signage, and other communication.
- Food Support: Many in our community are food insecure due to loss of jobs during the COVID pandemic. We would like to enhance out assistance to the community by creating a small food pantry within the school as a way to augment the emergency financial support we are already providing to families.
Takoma Park and Learn staff’s purpose for this program is to provide an academic/educational camp for low income Lunch families who cannot afford to attend an camp. We want the participants to not only have fun, but to learn how to use computers, chrome books and to enhance and maintain their academic skills (reading, math, science, arts, and crafts ) from the previous school year, while preparing for a higher level of instruction for the following school year. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, Lunch and Learn operated this year virtually using Zoom and provided chrome books to the students. Lunch and Learn provides students with tutoring in math, reading and science to maintain or improve their academic skills so they do not return at a deficit for the fall semester. being of the students and parents.