Small Things Matter Fights Food Insecurity

We always hope our grants have a far-reaching effect, and the work of Small Things Matter (STM), a recent grantee, is a prime example.

To quote Mike Houston, General Manager of the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op, “STM is a small non-profit with a huge impact.”

STM distributes children’s books, works with children to make crafts, fosters youth leadership, and perhaps most significantly is very active on the food distribution front through its Kokua Foods program.

The sad reality is that the pandemic has heightened food insecurity in communities across the nation, and this certainly applies to our own community. On the positive side STM has distributed about 1.5 million pounds of food since the pandemic began.

“Early pandemic layoffs and disproportionate economic impacts meant 10% of our county was food insecure almost overnight. STM grew and adapted to meet that need, ramping up fundraising, partnerships, distributions and everything else to get real food into people's hands quickly. With many distributions happening at the co-op, we got to see firsthand how important and impactful this work was,” Houston notes.

STM is run entirely by volunteers. In terms of food assistance, Executive Director Roxanne Yamashita tells us that the organization is currently serving about 1,000 families in Takoma Park and Silver Spring.

“I don’t like seeing people suffer,” says Yamashita.

STM rescues a lot of food that would be composted or thrown away but is finding its way to people who need it most.

Even more positively, as STM’s relationship with partners has evolved, Yamashita tells us that STM is receiving produce that is fresher and not on the verge of composting. “This food is really wonderful,” notes Yamashita.

Yamashita calls the grant that STM received from the Foundation “fantastic.”

COVID-19 has brought immeasurable pain and an array of challenges. But it’s also encouraged incredible acts of generosity and resilience. STM’s work has shown us that small, local nonprofits can make a big difference.