Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Martha's Outfitters Film by Jon Haas

The Teen Program Gets a Face Lift

Today, the Teen Program began a 2 day painting project to bring in the New Year with a fresh new look. They chose the colors and design, and are now hard at work making over the space.
Finished product coming soon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Holiday Season at Martha's Table

The Holiday Season is a very special time of year at Martha's Table. The community is focused on helping those in need over the holidays. Even in these rough economic times, we have had an overwhelming amount of support with people contacting us to volunteer and donate in unique ways.
Local neighbors and businesses have helped in many different ways this year and holiday season. 1000's of volunteers have volunteered their time. Staff from PricewaterhouseCoopers volunteer at Martha's Table every Thursday and really helped out during our Winter Holiday Community Dinner and Pantry Thursday's this year. Many individuals have energized their offices to coordinate food drives for Martha's Table's emergency food services. Schools and churches have been collecting hats, gloves, scarves and coats for our clothing distribution center, Martha's Outfitters. Many families are volunteering in their homes by making peanut butter & jelly sandwiches or meat & cheese sandwiches and bringing them into Martha's Table.

Our Children's programs are also celebrating this holiday season. Just last night they performed a play, Christmas Around the World, for their Christmas Pageant.

Recently, Office of Human Resources Management, Benefits, Medical and Worklife Division came to Martha's Table with gifts for all the children in our Daycare program. Pictured above, the children are having an early Christmas thanks to all the generous staff.

The Washington Post put out an article today, highlighting corporations that stepped up to help the neediest in a rough 2009. Note the photo: a longtime volunteer, Linda, sorts linens in Martha's Outfitters.
The Washington Post

We thank everyone who has participated in helping the community this year. Even though so many have generously donated we still need help. We are always in need of non-perishable food items. There is a list posted on our website in the wishlist section. wwwmarthastable.org

We are also in need of volunteer drivers for McKenna's Wagon. Every evening, McKenna's Wagon rolls out to 3 different locations around DC. We could not do this without the help of our dedicated volunteer drivers. Drivers must make a 6 month commitment and have a valid drivers license. The vans leave at 5pm and return around 6:30.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer driver, please contact:
Kimberly Lyons
Development and Volunteer Manager
Martha's Table
202.328.6608 x 232

Friday, December 4, 2009

Former Member of Our Teen Program Makes it BIG!

The nominations for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards were announced late November, and among the nominees in the category Best Musical Album for Children is Banjo to Beatbox Cathy & Marcy with Special Guest Christylez Bacon.

We at Martha’s Table know Chris well. He participated in our Teen Program in 2004 and 2005, and has come back to Martha’s Table to work with the teens on various aspects of music production during the past several summers. Banjo to Beatbox, a collaboration with Chris, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxner, is described as “beatbox (mouth drums) meets the banjo, nursery rhyme meets hip-hop fractured fairy tale and traditional folk song meets a whole new sound!”

All of us at Martha’s Table will be rooting for Chris come Grammy time next February. Chris already has the votes from one group of fans. Simone Johnson, the Director of our Child Development Center tells us that the toddlers and pre-schoolers in the program have been listening to the CD and have been dancing up a storm.

To hear snippets of the songs and to buy a copy of the CD, please visit http://www.cathymarcy.com/store/.

Listen to this!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Video: Obamas Distributes Thanksgiving Items

President Obama and family distribute Thanksgiving items to the children and families in Martha's Table's programs.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Obama's Thanksgiving Visit to Martha's Table

This Wednesday, the parents of the children in our programs were pleasantly surprised when the First Family handed them the ingredients to make a Thanksgiving feast. The First Family and 40 of their closest family members volunteered at Martha's Table. They helped pass out turkeys and pies, create Thanksgiving art work with our after-school program and read to the children in the daycare.

Thank you to all the staff members that worked so hard to make this special experience for the first family and their family.

Martha's Table wishes everyone a wonderful holiday with family and friends.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Martha's Table in the News!

The Washington Post featured Martha's Table in their discussion about how charities are affected by and coping with the consequences of the economic downturn.
"A year after the global economy teetered on the verge of collapse, a recession -- a lingering and unwelcome guest -- has settled in at dinner tables across the land.

And while plates are empty at some homes, the lines grow long at organizations like Martha's Table, a nonprofit in the District where a record number of people wait each day for a bit of something -- food or clothing or educational programs -- to see them through.

"It can be a swelling river with all the different tributaries feeding into it," said Lindsey Buss, president and chief executive of Martha's Table. "And the rain isn't stopping."

Please see the article here and be sure to check out the online photo gallery, Martha's Table: Rising to the challenges presented by the recession.

The WAMU also gives credit to Martha's Table in their discussion of non-profit organizations in difficult economic times. Please check out this article!

Martha's Table Gives Thanks

Yesterday was Martha's Table's community dinner for Thanksgiving. Normally, we serve our food through our mobile soup kitchen, McKenna's Wagon, which brings sandwiches, soup, and desserts to three stops in Washington, DC. Yesterday was a little different. We transformed our playground and food prep areas into large dining spaces, hosting a sit-down community dinner.

Our dinner was well-attended - we served over 1,000 meals. Thanksgiving is typically our largest community dinner of the three we serve each year, and our average number of meals served in past years has been significantly lower - around 750. This year, guests showed up in big numbers, and the line began at 10:30 am for the delicious holiday dinner. The menu featured roasted turkey, stuffing, homemade mashed potatoes, homemade sweet potatoes/yams, and green beans. Martha's Table's kitchen began early yesterday morning, and the smells throughout the day were delicious! Music filled the rooms, as musicians volunteered their time to serenade our guests with classic songs and uplifting music.

We had over 150 volunteers throughout the weekend, and we are enormously thankful for all of their help - setting up the rooms, chopping vegetables, preparing the plates and take-out dinners, serving the meals, and even helping in the clean-up! The dinner would not have been possible without all of their help!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Statistics Reveal the Growing Problem of Food Insecurity in America

The Washington Post published an article with newly-released reports from the USDA revealing statistics about food insecurity that confirm what Martha's Table has been noticing - longer lines at food pantry days, more people coming to Martha's Table for emergency food, and longer lines for our McKenna's Wagon mobile soup kitchen.

According to the Washington Post article (found here): "The data show that dependable access to adequate food has especially deteriorated among families with children. In 2008, nearly 17 million children, or 22.5 percent, lived in households in which food at times was scarce -- 4 million children more than the year before. And the number of youngsters who sometimes were outright hungry rose from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million."

The report also stressed a particular struggle for single mothers. Over one in three women raising children alone confirmed that they struggled for food, and more than one out of seven expressed concern that someone in their home had been hungry, dramatically larger than in any other type of household.

These reports reaffirm the need for Martha's Table's programs - both the Food Programs and the Children's Programs, as we provide consistent, nutritious, well-balanced meals to approximately 300 children Monday through Friday in addition to the 1200 sandwiches, 65 gallons of soup and desserts that go out nightly in McKenna's Wagon, our mobile soup kitchen. We have so far met the increased demand with help from the community - through large and small food drives and individual donors. Thank you for helping us in our fight against hunger!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Our New Reading Corner!

This is a follow-up to Friday's post about our brand new reading corner! (See the previous post here)

Friday afternoon and evening marked the grand ribbon ceremony and the unveiling of our fabulous new reading room to the many children in our programs.

The absolute joy and excitement on the faces of the children must have made all the long hours of hard work well worth it for the Howard student volunteers, the Heart of America staff and interns, and the contractors and painters. The children were told to close their eyes and enter the room, and after they opened them, incredulous expressions filled their faces as they took in the new sight of brand-new books on beautiful (real!) bookshelves, a puppet show, brightly-colored bean bag chairs, a welcoming environment and bright, inspiring artwork on the walls.

The younger children from our Child Development Center were treated to story time from an education student from Howard University. The older children examined the young adult section of the library, and loved the bean bag chairs. Some impromptu puppet shows entertained children and adults alike.

Martha's Table is so grateful for all of the dedication and hard work that so many people put into this project, especially the Heart of America Crew, the Howard University student volunteers, and Life Pieces to Masterpieces for their donation of inspiring artwork. The children happily thanked everyone at the ceremony with hugs and aprons!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Extreme Makeover - Martha's Table Library Edition

The Heart of America Foundation has completely transformed the Martha's Table Children's Program Library in the past week. To give you an idea of where we started, the before picture above shows our previous "bookshelves," made out of milk crates. The Heart of America Foundation generously donated many hours of hard work this week, and the change they have enacted is astounding.

The more than 275 low-income children aged 3 months to 18 years who participate in Martha's Table's education and enrichment programs now have a wonderful new reading room with freshly painted walls covered with inspiring quotations, filled with more than 1,500 books, organized in numerous (real) bookcases, comfortable reading chairs, and decorated with original artwork by Disney artist Ceilia Washington.

In addition, each child at Martha's Table will receive 3 brand new books to add to his or her own home library!

This transformation occurred with the help of several members of Leadership Greater Washington. Lindsey Buss, the President of Martha's Table, worked together with three other members of Leadership Greater Washington to create the new reading room. The Dean of Education at Howard University, Dr. Leslie Fenwick, enlisted the help of Howard students in working diligently all week, painting, building, and organizing the new room. Mary Brown, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Life Pieces to Masterpieces, coordinated the donation of the artwork for the walls. Last but certainly not least, Angie Halamandaris, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Heart of America made the entire project possible.

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony today at 4:15 pm to celebrate this truly wonderful, exciting new room!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Trick or Eat?

One donor turned her night of trick-or-treating into a meaningful experience and took the opportunity to help out Martha's Table and the many people who come to us for emergency food each month. Ilanna Star organized her neighborhood and school and encouraged her friends and neighbors to ask for canned food donations instead of candy while trick-or-treating.

Ilanna handed out bags to friends, with a sign on the bags saying, "For some people Halloween can be a fun holiday with cute costumes and candy for kids; for those people who do not celebrate on October 31st, it can be a day to help hungry people and do a mitzvah!"

And Ilanna chose to help out many hungry people, donating carloads of non-perishable goods (one carload is pictured above), and that food will be enjoyed by many! Thanks, Ilanna!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Martha's Table statistics show that demand for canned and non-perishable food has increased from about 80 baskets a month in 2008 to 322 baskets a month in 2009. Demand seems to grow monthly. Food drives are needed (apart from Thanksgiving and Christmas). Information about donating food and conducting food drives can be found on our website www.marthastable.org

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween at Martha’s Table!

The children at Martha’s Table celebrated Halloween with all sorts of traditional fun. Girl scouts came into the Elementary Program and led a day of activities that included bobbing for apples, eating donuts hanging from a string, decorating candy bags, and much more. The children in the Child Development Center celebrated with the help of some UMD students, who led a face-painting booth, arts and crafts, and harvest fun on the playground. Please enjoy the slideshow!

Friday, October 23, 2009


2009 Martha's Table Daycare Mini-Walk

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thanks Seth!

At the tail end of the summer Seth Rubin came to Martha's Table a took some fantastic photos of the children in our Daycare and After-School Elementary Program. He was gracious enough to create a slide show and share all of his photos with us. Please visit Shrubin Photography a check out Seth's photos.

Follow the link below and enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sheets and Stuff for Squirts!

Martha's Table has been lucky to have the assistance of a new volunteer this past summer. Erin Norcross completed the requirements of her Girl Scout Gold Award Project with Martha's Table.

Erin provided valuable service to the Martha’s Table Child Development Center. She organized a group of volunteers to help her sew much-needed sheets for a new classroom in our Center. These sheets would have cost Martha’s Table hundreds of dollars, and the staff of our Child Development Center commented that the sheets made by Erin and her volunteers fit the cots better, and looked nicer than the other (professionally made and ordered) sheets!

Erin also organized a very successful drive for arts and crafts supplies and reading materials, and donated many wonderful books and art supplies to the classrooms.

Today, Erin was volunteering in the Child Development Center to see the fruits of her labor. She worked with Classroom A as they learned all about the parts of the trees outsides - the branches, the roots, the leaves, and the bark - of course getting their hands-on experience outdoors with the dirt. The above picture is Erin (on the left), along with some kids in Classroom A, and Miss. Camilla.

Thanks for all your help, Erin!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


The summer C.O.O.L Kickball season ended with a little recognition. Please click on the NonProfit Times link below and read how kickball boosts the morale of non-profits in these hard economic times.


GO Martha's Table TERMINATORS!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

President of Martha's Table receives exciting award.

Lindsey Buss, President of Martha’s Table, Receives 2009 Exponent Award

Martha’s Table is pleased to announce that its President and CEO, Lindsey Buss, has been chosen by the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation as a recipient of the Foundation’s 2009 Exponent Award, which includes a $100,000 grant to be used for leadership development at Martha's Table.

The Exponent Award was created to support and sustain the most capable nonprofit leaders in the Greater Washington region. In addition to entrepreneurial leadership, the Foundation considered each nominee’s success at increasing the impact of their organization’s work, instituting sound financial management and serving as a collaborative community leader.

“We are delighted that Lindsey is receiving this great honor,” says Cathy Sulzberger, Martha’s Table Board Chair. “Lindsey has been extremely effective in increasing Martha’s Table’s capacity to help the many homeless and low-income people it serves by ensuring that the infrastructure was in place to provide a range of programs of a very high quality. These include a nationally accredited after-school program, a food program that ensures that fresh fruits and vegetables are distributed to those who need them most, and a popular thrift store that distributes free and low cost clothing to thousands in the community each year.” Sulzberger continues, “Lindsey also expanded the reach and scope of Martha’s Table’s work by developing partnerships with 80 other non-profits by providing them with food and clothing necessary to help them fulfill their missions.”

Upon learning that he was receiving a 2009 Exponent award, Mr. Buss said “I share this honor with all of the members of the amazing community that exists at Martha’s Table. Our resilient children, youth and families, our resourceful staff, our energetic volunteers, our creative partners, and all of our dedicated supporters combine to create opportunities and generate success on a daily basis. Their commitment and the results they collectively achieve are an inspiration.”

To find out more about Martha’s Table, please visit www.marthastable.org.

To learn more about the Meyer Foundation and the Exponent Award, please visit www.meyerfdn.org

or http://www.meyerfoundation.org/exponent09/buss

The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation is one of the Washington, DCWashington as a community by supporting capable, community-based nonprofit organizations that foster the well-being of all people in the region. region's oldest and most experienced private grant making foundations.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Go and Change the World"

When Ms. Ernestine and I made it to the "Senior Luncheon" on September 25th, hosted by RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), we were in awe over 2 things. One, the beautiful dining room that was rented out at the NDW Catering and Conference Center in the Washington Navy Yard and two, the saying which greeted us at the door. While we were being shown to our seats, a voice rang out throughout the room, "Now let's go change the world" which is a famous quote from President Barack Obama. I was preoccupied with my table seating and also wondering where this came from. I directed my attention to the front of the room to the Mistress of Ceremonies, Sandra Bears. When I finally sat down, she once again quoted the President.

This quote was the theme of the luncheon. The second time she delivered these cool words from her mouth, she followed it up by making a very strong point to tie all the ears in the room together. Ms. Bears said, "The change that we seek, doesn't only start with the current or upcoming generations, but those who were leading before them and who build the path in which we all now walk on" This was said in reference to the Civil Rights Movement and the strong family ties that once existed but have now become a dying breed. So now that this generation of bra-burning feminists, non-violent protesters and civil rights leaders has aged...they are still a VERY huge part of social change in America. She then addressed the approximately 200 men and women in the room by simply giving thanks and showing her appreciation for what they do daily to impact their communities through RSVP.

I was proud to be in that room to witness, chat and dine with these elegant men and women but also rejuvenated by the light that still burns bright in their eyes. It was refreshing to see, that after a lifetime of "fighting" for causes that they believe in, nothing has taken the "fight" from their spirits. I could only think to myself that, hopefully one day I could be in that exact place that they are and be able to inspire someone much younger than me, with that same sparkling light in my eyes.

This year was the 33rd Annual Recognition Luncheon, and even though the food was awesome, the speakers and entertainment were even better. The speakers included Azora Irby-Muntasir from Family Matters of Greater Washington, Rosetta Busby from DC Corporation for National and Community Service, and Ms. Senior DC 2009, Shirley Rivens Smith. There was entertainment provided by MC Steppers and a beautiful girl named Lynise Wellington who sang an inspiring gospel song. There were also two tributes to Micheal Jackson through the MC Steppers to honor the former Pop Idol's talents and his lifetime of service to global social change.

The event ended, with a lot of smiling faces, an invitation to the 34th Annual Senior Luncheon in 2010, and a plethora of opportunities to stay involved with RSVP and other organizations that focus on seniors staying active in their communities and non-profit organizations. There were also prize giveaways and a jazz band that played as we exited the building to, "Go and Change the World."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Saturday, First Ever U St. Festival

The festival will include performances by tons of artist, press conference with Jim Graham, rededication of 14th and V St. to Langston Hughes Way, Food Vendors from U St area businesses, and a Children's Festival at Harrison Recreation Center.

Martha's Table will be a part of this festive event on 14th and V St this Saturday, September 19th, from 12:30 to 5 pm.

The teens have created several photo albums capturing varying aspects of the U Street scene: fashion, black businesses, architecture, art and style.
Also, they created several art pieces in celebration of the festival including graphic designs and original paintings. The teen program anticipates setting up a display festival to show our works during Saturday's proceedings.

Our Elementary program will be performing on Langston Hughes Way (14th and V St. NW) between 4:15 and 4:30.

Hope to see you there. We are also very proud of the 6o plus Martha's Table volunteers that will be working hard during the festival. Let a volutneer know they are doing a good job, they will be easy to spot in their Martha's Table aprons.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Remember and Serve

Today is 9/11, the nation observes this day in remembrance of the victims of 9/11 and also honors this day with service. Thank you to all of the volunteers who serve Martha's Table and our community, today and everyday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Martha's Table Class of 2009

On August 20th, Martha's Table celebrated the accomplishments of the youngest members of our Children's Programs with a graduation ceremony. The afternoon was kicked off by a greeting from the assistant teachers of the 4 classrooms - they expressed their thanks to the children and their parents. Lindsey Buss, our president, said a few words of thanks to the teachers and the parents for making a difference in Martha's Table's children's lives. The children then put on a performance conducted by lead teacher, Camilla Swann. They sang Hello/Hola, I Feel Good Today and Where Are We Going?

Congratulations to all the children, parents and teachers. We are so proud of you!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer MTTP Open House

This past week the Martha's Table teens highlighted their summer accomplishments at a Open House hosted at Club Jin on 14th St. The teens showcased there talents in a variety of different ways. They created Martha's Table magazine, Modern Teen and expressed themselves through different mediums such as; abstract art, PSA announcements, mock newscasts, play writing and acting, fashion and t-shirt design. Below are some photos but really the night had a great energy that was not caught on camera. Please come out to the next Open House and support the teens in all their accomplishments. They worked so hard this summer and it really showed during the fantastic open house last Monday.

Some of the teens were showing their art work and others were featured on a PSA Announcement. Below Ron Allen, the Teen program Community Outreach Coordinator, is explaining the writing and acting workshop, the teens are behind him on stage getting ready for their performance.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Picking Peppers!

Yesterday, Demetri and some of the kids from the Elementary program picked some peppers from the garden. They were ripe for the picking and Demetri explained just how it should be done. The boys also cut off some mint that will be used to spice up the soup. Thanks for helping boys, good job! Please see all of the fantastic photos in the photos stream on the side bar titled "Planting and Picking in the Garden".

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Citations Handed Out to Martha's Table Employees

Martha's Table employees were issued citations by our Pre-School Police this afternoon. They caught all of the troublemakers and covered all the usual hot spots, the cooks in the kitchen for making meals for the children everyday. They caught Debbie and Simone at the front desk for reading to the kids in classroom C. Our President and CEO, Lindsey Buss, was caught by his daughter for working hard in his office. The fine for all...a cookie!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Martha’s Table Kids are PBS kids!

For the past year, volunteers from Howard University Television, one of DC’s local PBS stations (WHUT) have been working with the children in our Child Development Center on a variety of projects that are all geared towards helping them learn the basics of reading and writing so that they are ready for school. And now the pre-school kids are helping the WHUT volunteers by trying out a website linked to a new show slated to start in September on PBS stations. The children are testing the website for ease of use and navigation—and they get to be the first kids to experience the PBS show: Dinotrain!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Father's Day in July!

Better late than never, right?

Our Child Development Center hosted a Father's/Male Caregivers Backyard Barbeque Celebration last Friday. The classroom was beautifully decorated by Ms. Benita with the help of the National Cathedral Scholars, and the food was delicious! The event was a big success, and fathers (and a few mothers) enjoyed the special day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yoga for the Young

Our 3-5 year old children in our preschool had the opportunity today to explore the world of yoga!

Every Wednesday, Ms. Blakely comes to Martha's Table to teach yoga in our Child Development Center through an arrangement with Flow Yoga.

The kids had a blast doing different yoga poses - downward dog, swan, snake, and turtle, and they also calmed down and focused on breathing with a four-count breathing pattern. They showed off their dragon breath and even enjoyed chanting some "ohhhmmmms." It was far from your typical yoga class!

Enjoy the following pics!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Growth in the Garden!

An update on our school yard garden:

The rains of the past few weeks have allowed our garden to take root, and with the children in our programs carefully tending to the budding plants, the garden has really grown!

Please check out the following pictures and feel free to stop by and see the garden in person!