Our nonprofit, So What Else (SWE), is the largest food distributor in Montgomery County, and yet we may lose the ability to fully provide for our clients because of a financial deficit at year-end caused by worsening inflation, increased demand for services, and a lack of funding from the Montgomery County Government for our food program.
Since the onset of the pandemic, SWE has distributed 35 million free meals in Montgomery County in less than four years. In late 2021, after our work began attracting attention, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) approached us and asked us to help feed the County HUBS, a partnership of eight community-based organizations and DHHS, because they could not continue to buy food for them as federal Covid-19 funds ran out. We immediately began feeding the HUBS throughout the county, and all we requested in return was modest support from Montgomery County to help offset these costs.
However, since July of 2023, we have received no financial support from the county for our services, totaling 4.5 million meals in a six-month span, while likewise receiving no answer on 2024 support after an appropriation was denied and the grants process for nonprofit awards was delayed with no announcement in sight. As a result, we are now in grave danger of having to deny critical, lifesaving access to hunger relief for our thousands of clients due to a $250,000 dollar budget deficit.
The County has a $7 billion budget. All we are asking for is $360,000 to supplement the millions of dollars we are already raising in order to ensure their constituents, their HUBS, can continue to receive the food access they desperately need. As prices continue to rise in grocery stores and demand for food across the county continues to grow, we are being pushed beyond our current capacity and financial means and cannot continue to operate without significant cutbacks posed to hurt our clients, staff, and volunteers.
So we are calling all individuals, all community organizations, local businesses, and supporters, both former and current, to please join us in taking a stand to fight for food access in our county. Donate at the bottom of this page, petition your county representatives to financially support our work, and share this message far and wide. All donations will be matched up to $150,000 and are vitally needed. Every single dollar counts.
We cannot bridge the gap without you, and we cannot afford to wait. Thank you.
Donate Today & Help Us Bridge the Gap: https://sowhatelse.salsalabs.org/bridgethegap/index.html
Sign the Petition: https://chng.it/yPMN5HvdDg