Dear Editors,

I am writing with an update on a volunteer group working in our local communities. Route 1 Communities Care (ROCC), its partner Greater Riverdale Cares and its parent non-profit Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization Community Development Corporation (which you may know as CKAR) are holding a big garage sale on April 29th. The sale will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Church of the Brethren, 4413 Tuckerman Street, in University Park. You will find high-quality new and lightly used clothes, shoes, household items, jewelry, toys and games, smaller pieces of furniture and a special Mother’s Day table. All items will be available at deeply discounted prices. 

One hundred percent of your purchases will support the local, family-owned restaurants in Hyattsville, College Park and Greater Riverdale that we partner with to distribute nutritious meals to churches and apartment buildings to help feed our hungry neighbors. Our restaurant meals program has raised over $475,000, supported 12 area restaurants, and distributed over 40,000 meals. We work to help local restaurants to stay afloat and serve a growing population of food-insecure residents. 

I’m proud to be a volunteer for ROCC. We started this program in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, thinking it would be temporary. But many people are still struggling, even as we ease out of the pandemic. They face the end of federal safety nets like the child tax credit, unemployment aid, and as of this coming May, nutrition assistance programs like SNAP that had been supported by the National Public Health Emergency Act.

 In addition, data show that the culinary industry has failed to keep pace with other areas in recovering from the economic blows of the pandemic. Our participating restaurants tell us that our program has helped sustain them in these hard times. Their survival contributes to the lovely sense of a diverse community with many options for eating pleasure that distinguishes our neighborhoods. 

So please turn out for our sale (cash only, please) and bring your families. We hope to see you there!

Thank you,

Deborah Rosenfelt

Deborah Rosenfelt is a member of the ROCC committee and a professor emerita at the University of Maryland.