The History of Shepherd's Table:

The myth that hunger did not exist in affluent Silver Spring was debunked on December 16, 1983 with the opening of Shepherd’s Table. Even in Montgomery County, one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, homelessness and hunger need to be addressed. Silver Spring HELP, an all-volunteer, nonprofit, grassroots organization for the homeless, initiated a solution to the problem.

The Founding of Shepherd's Table:

Shepherd’s Table began as a soup kitchen in a small Cape Cod bungalow behind First Baptist Church of Silver Spring. This was made possible through the joint effort of 15 local religious congregations:
Christ Congregational Church Clifton Park Baptist Church Colesville United Methodist Church Colesville Presbyterian Church First Baptist Church of Silver Spring Good Shepherd Episcopal Church Good Shepherd United Methodist Church Grace Episcopal Church Marvin Memorial United Methodist Church St. John the Baptist Church St. Luke Lutheran Church Silver Spring Presbyterian Church Takoma Park Presbyterian Church Temple Israel (now named Tikvat Israel) Woodside United Methodist Church

Several other local congregations, members of Silver Spring HELP, were among the early supporters of Shepherd’s Table.

Community Opposition
Community opposition was met by vocal supporters who pointed out that ignoring homelessness and hunger did not make these issues disappear. Over time, citizen support grew to include donations of time, meals and kitchen equipment. Health, nutrition, and security professionals educated the volunteers, and physicians, nurses, and mental health counselors provided their services.
The first volunteers to serve at Shepherd’s Table were congregants from St. Luke’s Lutheran Church who fed seven guests. By June 1984, the program averaged 1,500 dinner guests a month. Within a year, services expanded to include distribution of free clothing, laundry and shower facilities, social services, referrals to a medical clinic, counseling, drug and alcohol addiction treatment, mental health therapy, shelters and other professional services. In 1985, Shepherd’s Table became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Move to Progress Place:

In 1996, the Montgomery County government moved Shepherd’s Table from its cramped quarters to a newly renovated multipurpose community center called Progress Place. The programs grew as the organization adapted to meet the community’s needs. New programs included the Eye Clinic in 1999 and weekend brunch services in 2012.

In December 2016, Shepherd’s Table moved to a new facility provided by Montgomery County, about a block from our old location. We expanded our food services operation to include breakfast and lunch from Monday-Friday, with dinner served every night, and weekend brunches continuing as before.

Shepherd’s Table has never missed a meal since opening its doors almost 36 years ago, and we are committed to making sure we never do.

Homelessness in Montgomery County

In Montgomery County, there are 647 people experiencing homelessness, as counted by the 2019 Point in Time annual survey. Homeless individuals are assisted through various providers across Montgomery County, including state and local government agencies, nonprofit service providers, and other stakeholders that have a role in preventing and ending homelessness. Individuals are housed both in emergency and transitional housing in the hopes that permanent housing is eventually obtained.

Shepherd’s Table is pleased to be at the beginning of the Continuum of Care, offering basic human services and providing a strong safety net for people experiencing homelessness. The CoC embraces the Housing First philosophy, and is committed to making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring for all residents. There are initiatives and campaigns to end chronic homelessness, veteran homelessness, and homelessness for families, youth and children.

We are grateful for the individuals, groups, and organizations that join together to make the work of Shepherd’s Table possible. Because of your kindness and giving, our mission is accomplished every day of the year. We thank you for remembering the most vulnerable members of our community by helping us meet their needs with compassion, and serve them with dignity.

Supportive Partners in the Fight Against Homelessness in Montgomery County and Washington D.C:

Montgomery County Crisis Center (Department of Health and Human Services)

The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for public health and human services that help address the needs of our community’s most vulnerable children, adults and seniors. The Crisis Center provides service to Montgomery County residents experiencing an emotional, crisis, or mental health problems. To reach the Crisis Center, call 240-777-4000.

Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless

MCCH is the leading organization dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in Montgomery County.

Interfaith Works of Montgomery County

Interfaith Works mission is to pursue social justice with an emphasis on identifying and meeting the needs of the poor by leading and engaging Montgomery County’s faith communities in service, education, and advocacy. Interfaith Works Empowerment Center, a program of Interfaith Works, is housed in Progress Place along with Shepherd’s Table, providing for a strong partnership in serving our clients.


MobileMed provides medical care for low-income, uninsured and Medicaid-enrolled residents of Montgomery County through a network of primary care and specialty care clinics. One of the clinics, providing primary care and nurse case management services, is located on the second floor of Progress Place.

Manna Food Center (Community Food Rescue)

Manna Food Center’s singular mission is to eliminate hunger in Montgomery County, Maryland. Through food distribution, education and advocacy, they are making strides on behalf of more than 63,000 county residents who experience hunger and food insecurity.

Community Food Rescue (CFR)

A first-of-its-kind effort to improve and scale up food rescue and distribution throughout Montgomery County, partnering with a range of hunger relief organizations, volunteers and businesses to make sure that edible food reaches hungry neighbors.

Silver Spring Regional Service Center

The Silver Spring Regional Center connects Montgomery County and community members, businesses, institutions, non-profits, visitors, and all interests in Silver Spring. Their mission is to strengthen communication between the community and various agencies of County Government, coordinate necessary inter-agency action with respect to each local area, and recommend programs and policies tailored to the local community.

East Silver Spring Citizen’s Association

The East Silver Spring Citizen’s Association’s mission is to bring neighbors together to make our community safer, more beautiful, culturally and economically diverse, and… fun!