Tag Archives: community

Casseroles for a Cause is Back! Stay in & Cook October 11-20

Casseroles for a Cause is back just in time for the Fall season! From October 11th through the 20th, Silver Spring Cares will partner with Kokua Foods,  Shepherds Table, and  The Arc Montgomery County. Our goal is to collect 2,000 delicious meals and help keep freezers full for many of our neighbors.

“Did you know that one easy way to support local organizations and families is by preparing casseroles? Volunteering to make a casserole or two helps to keep the freezers full for many of our most vulnerable neighbors. Your effort saves organizations and volunteers time, money and helps to eliminate any immediate food insecurity issues they may be experiencing. And you don’t even have to leave the house!”

Sign-up here to participate in the latest Casseroles for a Cause. Together let’s help make a difference in our community!

Learn more about Silver Spring Cares and how we work to strengthen the Silver Spring community through the power of connection. Whether you are looking to donate items, donate funds, or donate time, Silver Spring Cares is your destination for information on our community’s needs and opportunities for service. By engaging the diverse needs and resources of our residents, we can create a community in which all of us may thrive.

The Latest Silver Spring Cares Event Recap

We are proud of the impact Silver Spring Cares continues to make in our community. Their latest effort, the “Not Your Traditional Back to School Drive,” collected specific items to assist families and students as they begin the new school year. The drive benefitted 8 Silver Spring schools.

Read more from Silver Spring Cares in the recap below:

Our Not Your Traditional Back to School Drive was aimed at allowing all children in our community to start the school year with confidence and dignity. Our efforts provided a helping hand by collecting specific items for 25 families (think new shoes, lunch boxes, underwear, clothing, and backpacks) as well as general items to be distributed to teachers, counselors, and students including hygiene products, graphing calculators, water bottles, books, puzzles, art supplies, and more!

Thanks to a partnership with Silver Spring Cares and the YMCA Youth & Family Services/Linkages to Learning, we assisted families in five elementary, two middle schools, and one high school – all right here in Silver Spring!

 The drive benefitted students/families in the following local schools:

  • Montgomery Knolls Elementary
  • New Hampshire Estates Elementary
  • Rolling Terrace Elementary
  • Broad Acres Elementary
  • Oak View Elementary
  • Green Castle Elementary
  • Eastern Middle School
  • Silver Spring International Middle School
  • Blair High School

Silver Spring Cares works to strengthen the Silver Spring community through the power of connection. In addition to the Not Your Traditional Back to School Drive, Silver Spring Cares has connected over 4,000 donors and volunteers to a robust network of 30 local nonprofits, delivered over 3,000 meals through our Casseroles for a Cause program, and warmed over 350 families through our Warm Clothing Drive.

Photos from the Not Your Traditional Back To School Drive:

Want to participate in the next Silver Spring Cares community event?

Visit their website here

The Area’s Best Local Summer Festivals

The official start of summer is right around the corner but doesn’t mean the summer spirit hasn’t around come into full gear! We’ve put together a list of the most fun and most entertaining summer festivals and events in the area. Get out your dancing shoes, check out some art, try an array of great food and much more at these fun summer festivals. There’s a little bit of something for everyone!

Silver Spring Thursday Night Summer Concert Series

Put on your “dancing flip-flops!”  Silver Spring’s Thursday night Summer Concerts are a perfect, free night out for the whole family. You can groove to the tunes on long summer nights while your kids enjoy games and face painting.  Silver Spring’s long running and popular Thursday Night Concerts kickoff on June 20 with a mix of crowd favorites and new offerings in the Silver Spring Season.  The concert series features a raffle with free prizes for adults as well as toys and gifts for kids.   

Event Info:

When: Thursdays from 7pm-9pm // June 20 – August 8th
Where: Silver Spring Civic Building, Veterans Plaza, One Veterans Place.
Cost: Free!

World Heritage Festival

Taste delicious ethnic food from Nigeria, Jamaica, Thailand, Greece and get refreshed with a scoop of ice cream or shaved ice or even a fresh smoothie!! Enjoy a cultural performance show with folk dances from Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey and much more! You will have an array of vendors to choose from with more than 60 artists displaying everything from fine art to jewelry, ceramics to crafts, and every creative item in between.

Event Info:

When: Sunday, June 23rd
Where: Silver Spring Civic Building, Veterans Plaza, One Veterans Place.
Cost: Free!

K-Town Food Truck Night 

Don’t want to cook dinner? Go to Food Tuck Night in Old Town Kensington every 1st and 3rd Thursday night. Theres great food and music for the family to enjoy!

Event Info:

When: Every 1st and 3rd Thursdays May thru October from 5 – 8pm
Where: 10417-10419 Armory Ave., Kensington, MD 20895
Cost: Free!

Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Summer Fair

Come out to the annual Arts and Crafts Summer Fair to see over 60 arts and crafts vendors, cultural dance performances, and food vendors.

Event Info:

When: Sunday, July 14, 2 – 8pm
Where: 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Cost: Free!

Kensington Summer Movie Nights

Kensington Fire Department puts on this great family event. Bring your kids to the park for a night viewing of classic movies, including ‘The Princes Bride’! There will also be food trucks before the movie!

Event Info:

When: Saturday, June 22 and Saturday, July 23 at 6:30pm – 10pm
Where: St. Paul Park, Kensington, MD 20895
Cost: Free!

Latin Heritage Fiesta

A celebration of Latin Heritage with amazing food, over 60 art vendors, and dance performances. It will be a big party that the family will love!

Event Info:

When: August 11, 2 – 8pm
Where: 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Cost: Free!

4th of July Parade and Fireworks

Go see Takoma Park’s 130th Independence Day Celebration! This year’s theme is Community Heroes and leading the parade will be our Grand Marshals, Takoma Park’s First Responders. This event is a great way to start your 4th of July celebrations!

Event Info:

When: Parade starts at 10am. Evening activities starts at 7pm
Where: 7500 Maple Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912-4939
Cost: Free!

Shorts and Sundress Summer Jam

Break out those shorts and sundresses the weather is going to be great for dancing! DJ Lineup: TMF, The Underground, DJ Cel, Handz on Radio, and Tommy Wickens aka A Plane, Cyberjamz Radio. Food and drinks will be provided by Nich’s Kitchen.

Event Info:

When: Parade starts at 10am. Evening activities starts at 7pm
Where: Polka Dot Park, 4320 Hamilton Street, Hyattsville, MD 20781
Cost: $8

Riverdale Park Station Summer Concert Series

Celebrate the start of Summer with the 2nd annual Summer Music Concert Series. This series will feature local artists from the DMV area every Friday from 6pm-8pm in Bear Square.

Event Info:

When: Friday evenings from 6pm-8pm
Where: Riverdale Park Station, 6621 Baltimore Avenue, Riverdale Park, MD 20737
Cost: FREE!

Yappy Hour at Republic

Grab your pup and join The Big Bad Woof for Yappy Hour at Republic! This event takes place on the last Sunday of each month through October. There will be treats and samples for the pups and tasty food and drink specials for the humans.

Event Info:

When: June 30 from 3pm – 5pm
Where: 6939 Laurel Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912
Cost: FREE!

StoryCorps Is Coming To Silver Spring

StoryCorps, a National Public Radio (NPR) production, is coming to Silver Spring from April 23 through May 22.

StoryCorps is a non profit organization which has been in operation since 2003, their work captures and records meaningful conversations between individuals. One feature of this production is their Mobile Tour which showcases their mobile recording studio, the MobileBooth, which is a silver trailer that travels across the United States recording over 1000 conversations annually.

The MobileBooth will be parked outside of Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring. Slots are available for anyone who wants to have a meaningful conversation with someone in your life. The first batch of appointments will be available on April 9th, and the a second batch of appointments will be made available on April 24th. 

You and your conversation partner will have your conversation recorded for up to 40 minutes. You will get a copy of your recorded conversation and with your permission, they will preserve and store your recording in the Library of Congress.

To learn more about StoryCorps & register, visit their website.

Giving Back Boredom Busters via Silver Spring Cares

We are in the thick of summer with the new school year still a ways away – this means more time for the kids to be bored and restless while they wait for school to start. Silver Spring Cares put together a great list to fight this with 10 ways to get your kids involved in the local community this summer!

Read some below or head on over to their site to read the full list.

Welcome to the endless summer, Maryland! Where you’ll get 4,200 additional renditions of “I’m Bored!” Ok ok, school does start back September 4 but that seems really far away. So to help you reduce the “I’m Boreds” by 10, here are ten things your kids can do to help others this summer (with minimal supervision).

Host a food drive for Manna Food Center

Check out the Most Needed Foods list, make flyers, and let your neighbors know your kids will do porch pickup of food donations. Summer time is a lean time for food pantries so getting your neighborhood involved to bridge the summer food gap!

Paint Kindness Rocks inspired by Small Things Matter

Create kindness rocks to be abandoned and discovered by others as a Random Act of Kindness. Spread messages of love and kindness throughout your community!

Pick Up Litter on your Street for the Friends of Sligo Creek

Grab a trash bag and gloves and send your kids down your street to pick up the trash that gathers in the gutters. Trash gets washed to the creek from gutters so picking up trash along your street can help protect Sligo Creek!

Make Cards for our Senior Community Members through Silver Spring Village

Put your kids’ art skills to use and make beautiful drawings, colorings or cards to give to Silver Spring Village to distribute to their clients.

Clean out Closets for Mary’s Center

Two birds, one stone here, parents! Have your kids clean out their closets and toys and donate gently used things they no longer wear/play with to Mary’s Center for the families they serve.

Read Full List via Silver Spring Cares Blog

Dockless Bikes have ARRIVED!

image via TheWashCycle

Guest post by Silver Spring resident, Lauren Lee.

You’ve seen them around – maybe lined up in an organized row in downtown Silver Spring, maybe in a heap of a pile blocking a sidewalk or a bus stop. They come in all different colors! Green, Yellow, Orange, Red! Two things are for sure, they are making their way around the community and there are lots of opinions.

How do these bikes work? Generally, you download the app for the appropriate bike rental company – LimeBike for example, put in your information, create and account, etc.  Then when you are interested in riding – you scan a bike, and it gets unlocked releasing the wheel.  After your ride, you scan it again to lock it up and complete your ride.  You don’t have to leave it in the same place as where you picked it up. For the rider looking for a quick trip from work to an appointment, or a ride to the bus stop from home these bikes seem like the perfect solution.

But of course there couldn’t be convenience without a dissenting inconvenience.

There have been bikes reported as being in the middle of sidewalks, fallen over, blocking a path for pedestrians, people with strollers or those in wheelchairs. Other bikes seem to have been left in more off the track places making them less apt to be ridden and often stay there for quite some time.  WTOP just this weekend reported people parking bikes on the frozen C&O Canal. WHAT IS GOING ON?!

photo via TwoWheelsDC

Dockless bikes aren’t for everyone it seems. There is a percentage of people that generally can’t use the bikes, those that travel and are responsible for young kids can’t easily run errands on dockless bikes. There’s also a risk that you get stranded and someone picks up the bike you left for your way back home. An argument also is that those that are avid bikers likely own bikes already.

Vicki King Taitano, a Silver Spring resident, is frustrated that a bike has been in her yard for over two weeks. The burden then falls on her to call the company and have them remove it. She mentions that she thought about putting in her narrow street but is afraid of causing an accident. “It sort of illustrates the point that this company expects me to participate in its business whether I want to or not. I don’t have the app and no one in my family rode the bike to my house, yet there it is unless I do something about it,” Taitano states.

After riding dockless bikes several times from her home to run errands in downtown Silver Spring, Liz Brent started a Facebook group called “Silver Spring’s Battle of the Bikes.” In this group, members frequently comment on both the positive and negative impact of these bikes.  The pictures of kids riding the bikes and the convince of getting around downtown Silver Spring has been highlighted and lauded.  It seems to be getting people to ride a bit more than normal.  The environmental benefits also do not go unnoticed. Downtown Silver Spring is notorious for being frustrating to navigate in a car, especially during rush hour. By adding an easy bike option, many can get around without polluting or contributing to traffic.

Furthermore, it’s been noted that just because there are complaints and frustrations with the way that some of the companies handle the bikes being strewn about or where they are located, that doesn’t automatically translate into disliking the dockless bike programs as a whole.  A general sentiment is that it’s a cool program but has lots of kinks to work out. Hopefully, the business model will only improve and expand to address needs and concerns.

“I think it’s odd that the rollout for the dockless bikes was in October, just as things would be getting cold here. On the other hand, on average our winters are usually so much milder than this, and the companies may have been counting on that,” notes Sandra Schmidt, a new rider and downtown Silver Spring resident. One would think that anyone familiar with the DC area knows how unpredictable the weather can be and how could it can become, deterring the casual bike rider.

As of now, there are many unanswered questions that we look forward to figuring out in the coming months as the weather warms, and bikers are more inclined to ride again.  Will there be more bike accidents as drivers and riders get used to one another? Will a lack of helmet-wearers impact this? Will there be a more mainstream plan to move disruptively located bikes?

What do you think about the influx of dockless bikes in our community? Do you have a success story or an interesting anecdote? Let us know! If you’re interested in learning more about the different types (yes, there are plenty!) take a peek at their websites for more information. Montgomery County is open to questions or comments regarding the Dockless Bikeshare Program; residents can contact MC311 or email Commuter Services at mcdot.commuterservices@montgomerycountymd.gov.







Great Community Events in November!

With Halloween gone and passed, the Holiday season is approaching us fast! This month, we’ve gathered together some of our favorite community events in the area from local craft markets to the Annual Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade. We’re ready to get into the spirit and we hope you are too.

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Silver Spring Craft Market

When: Sunday, 11/5
Where: Denizen’s Brewing Company
Address: 1115 East-West Hwy, Silver Spring
Time: 12pm – 4pm
Cost: FREE


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Crafts and Drafts pop-up artisan market in the beer garden. Pop-up craft market of local artisans selling jewelry, ceramics, candles, children’s décor, home accessories.

Learn more: Silver Spring Craft Market Facebook Event

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photo via east MoCo

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Silver Spring Tree Lighting

When: Saturday, 11/11
Where: Fountain Plaza, DTSs
Address: 916 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring
Time: 6pm-9pm
Cost: FREE

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Join us on Saturday, November 11th from 6-9pm as we unveil and light this season’s exciting, one of a kind, holiday tree display on the Fountain Plaza.

  • Guest Host Tommy McFly from 94.7 Fresh FM
  • A capella performance by UMD’s PandemoniUM
  • Beer and Seasonal Sangria Cheer Stations
  • Fun grown up games: Giant Light Bright, Cornhole and Foosball
  • Meet Maryland Youth Ballet dancers and Nutcrackers
  • Food Tasting, Drink Specials and more!

Learn more: Silver Spring Tree Lighting

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Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

When: Saturday, 11/18
Where: Veteran’s Plaza, DTSS
Address: 8523 Fenton Street, Silver Spring
Time: 10am – 12pm
Cost: FREE


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The streets are being overrun with turkeys, dinosaurs, penguins, and reindeer! No, the zoo hasn’t opened their gates – it is the Annual Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade! With marching bands an Latin dancing groups, floats, giant characters and balloons, and over 120 units, the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade is the only Thanksgiving Parade in the metro DC area.

Held in downtown Silver Spring, the exciting parade traditionally heralds the start of the holiday season. The parade steps off from Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street and proceeds south on Georgia Avenue, ending at Silver Spring Avenue. It also is televised live on News Channel 8 and rerun on Thanksgiving Day.


Learn more: Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

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Photo via Montgomery Parks


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Brookside Gardens: Garden of Lights

When: Saturday, 11/24 – 1/1
Time: Sun-Thurs 5:30pm – 9:30pm / Fri-Sat: 5:30-10pm
Where: Brookside Gardens
Address: 1800 Glenallan Avenue Wheaton, MD 20902


Step into a magical winter wonderland illuminated with more than one million dazzling colorful lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals and other natural elements. Stroll from garden to garden enjoying twinkling tree forms, sparkling fountains, and whimsical winter scenes. The Garden of Lights celebrates its 19th season as a Baltimore/Washington, DC area family holiday tradition.

The night wouldn’t be complete without a visit inside the Conservatory to enjoy watching G-Scale model trains wind through a seasonal landscape. Afterward, warm up inside the Visitors Center while you sip hot cocoa and listen to one of the nightly musical performances.

Learn more: Brookside Gardens: Garden of Lights

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Small Business Saturday Community Fair

When: Saturday, 11/25
Time: 12pm – 6:30pm
Where: Montgomery Blair High School
Address: 51 University Boulevard East


This Nov 25, we want to share Small Business Saturday® with you! It’s a holiday shopping tradition that celebrates small businesses. And it wouldn’t be a celebration without customers like you joining us to Shop Small.

So mark your calendars for Nov 25 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving – for the Silver Spring Small Business Saturday Community Fair and get ready to Shop Small® with us. Grab a friend (or two) or the whole family and join us for shopping and family fun between 12 noon and 6:30 pm on the big day.

You can help get the word out and celebrate Small Business Saturday by sharing this event using the hashtag #SHOPSMALL with your friends and family on Facebook and all of your social networks.

This year we’ll be featuring more than 40 small business owners, FREE face painting (1 pm – 4 pm), a children’s craft center, holiday gift wrapping station, food, music, FREE professional headshots for small business owners and lots of family fun. This event is FREE to the public. Eventbrite tickets are not required but highly recommended! Register on Eventbrite to receive a free Shop Small tote at the event full of awesome swag from small businesses around the area (while supplies last).

Learn more: Small Business Saturday Community Fair