GAITHERSBURG, Md. (DC News Now) — A Gaithersburg food pantry is forced to close operations at the end of March due to Lakeforest Mall shutting down.
Leaders with So What Else said that some people could have trouble finding their next meals without this pantry. They said that they were working to find a new location.
For about three years, So What Else has been running its food distribution program at Lakeforest Mall. The mall announced that it was closing in January.
Executive Director Dave Silbert said the organization didn’t start as a pantry but they noticed things got worse for people since the pandemic especially when it dealt with food.
He said that So What Else has distributed about 34 million meals since March 2020.
The group provides service to people in a few ways, including a walk-up pantry, home deliveries and satellite neighborhood distribution.
They say all that is now at risk with the mall’s closing looming on the horizon. The organization asked the community to help in any way it can.
“What we’re looking at, for 10-15 thousand square feet of storage and flex space, is between $12 to $15,000 a month. So people getting involved, people donating, donating in-kind materials, volunteering, and getting involved in the grassroots movement is incredibly appreciated,” Silbert said.
Dennis Salamone of Germantown stopped by the pantry for the first time on Tuesday. He agreed that people need to help the pantry that was helping him out.
“I think if there is somebody out there listening that can help them, give them a cheap place to rent. Give them a cheap place too because this has to continue. There’s a lot of bad things happening out there. Financially and food prices are going up,” said Salamone.
Silbert said that So What Else will be holding a fundraiser in May to help raise money to pay for a possible new space.