Indoor Choice Food Pantry Opens in Montgomery County

by Foster Dennin | July 9, 2024

The Catholic Charities Center in Montgomery County opened its Choice Food Pantry on July 9, bringing much-needed relief to families in need of food. With a commitment to providing a wide variety of foods to meet diverse dietary needs, the pantry plays a crucial role in helping those facing food insecurity.

Clients will be given a budget based on household size to shop for items of their choice within that budget. This service is free, allowing families to access nutritious food without financial burden. To access the pantry’s resources, clients must provide proof of current address for adults and documentation for children.

The indoor food pantry will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. It will be closed the week of the first Tuesday of every month. Clients can receive food every 30 days, with a limit of up to eight visits per 12 months, ensuring fair access for all.

After closing its doors because of the pandemic, the return of the indoor pantry is a welcome development. “The food pantry at the Catholic Charities Center is a great resource for us,” said Deacon Jim Nalls, former executive director of Family, Parish & Community Outreach. The one-on-one interaction “helps our staff identify other needs that our clients are dealing with beyond just food insecurity.”

Donations from community partners, the Maryland Emergency Food Program and the Capital Area Food Bank help keep the pantry stocked. Individual donations are accepted, including refrigerated items. Those looking to donate can come in to drop off items any time during the work week between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For large donations please call in advance to 301-942-1790. Please be advised that staff are on lunch Monday, Wednesday and Friday 1-2 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday 12-1 p.m. 

During the closure of the indoor pantry, Catholic Charities hosted outdoor food distributions multiple times a month, serving over 300 community clients each time. Managed by dedicated staff and volunteers, the outdoor distributions were a lifeline for many during challenging times. The outdoor distributions continue on the first Tuesday of each month.

“Now as the program returns to the pre-COVID-managed food pantry operation, we look forward to continuing doing God’s work of helping our neighbors in need on a more personalized basis,” said Bill McDermott, a Catholic Charities Center volunteer who dedicates his time to food assistance.