“Spring Into Action”: Thank You For A Successful Virtual Event!

Last Saturday, May 9th, the Board of Directors of Shepherd’s Table held our very first virtual fundraising event “Spring Into Action!” to help us bridge the funding gaps left by our previously postponed spring annual fundraising event. Fortunately, the virtual fundraiser was a major success! With the participation of over 80 people across the country, we were able to meet the $25,000 match by the Embassy of the State of Qatar by afternoon.

We wish to express our gratitude to everyone who tuned in and made a donation to support us. With the combined $50,000 raised from the event, we are confident that we can continue our meal program and essential services for our neighbors in need. As the number of people experiencing homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity continues to grow during these unprecedented times, your generous support of our mission is needed more than ever and greatly appreciated. Thank YOU!

We hope that everyone enjoyed the event as much as we did, learning about gardening, hearing from CKC Farming in Silver Spring, and seeing the progress in our very own urban garden. Here’s a quick recap of the event: 

 

 

 

Our Chair of Board of Directors, Susan Collet, kicked off the event around 11 AM.

Manny Hidalgo, our Executive Director, spoke about Shepherd’s Table and our response to COVID-19.

Our first guest speaker, Jenny Brown, shared her knowledge about starting a garden at home. She went through some helpful tips when growing different plants.

Our second guest speaker, Hannah Sholder, from CKC Farming led a discussion about being sustainable and growing your own food during this time. She also helped answer some questions from our participants.

Our amazing chef, Christina Moore, gave a tour around our new urban garden.

We announced the winners of our door prizes, donated by our friends at Brookside Gardens.

During the event, we received some wonderful questions from our participants, so we want to share the answers here again with everyone. These answers were written by our volunteer gardeners and reviewed by our featured experts for accuracy. We hope they are useful for you! On top of that, we also want to share these helpful gardening articles available on the website for the University of Maryland’s (UMD) Extension Program if you are looking for more resources.  

Questions from the Virtual Gardening Fundraiser  

Can I start squash now?   

Yes. According to the UMD Extension’s Vegetable Planting Calendar, both summer and winter squash can be planted directly in the ground in mid-May.   

Is it too late to plant lettuce?   

According to the UMD Extension’s Vegetable Planting Calendar, it’s a bit late for head lettuce and getting to the end of the season for romaine, but leaf lettuce can be planted up until the end of May. You may even be able to extend the season if you give your lettuce a little afternoon shade.  

Are there good website/resources for more tips for planting a vegetable garden for novices?   

See any of the UMD Extension resources listed below. Each page has a wealth of information and links to additional resources.   

I’m looking for a very sweet cherry tomato. Any suggestions?  

I have had good luck with Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes are very sweet, and each plant is extremely productive.  Be aware that most of these variety of tomatoes is “indeterminate,” meaning that it will grow as high as eight feet (as opposed to “determinate” tomato plants, which stay more compact), so you should be prepared to prune them back periodically.    

Last year, I planted collard greens in May and was surprised to be able to harvest them for so long! What are some winter tolerant plants?  

According to the UMD Extension’s Vegetable Planting Calendar, some other examples of cold-hardy plants include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, head lettuce, and onions. We had a mild winter this last year and assuming we have more of them, the swiss chard, carrots, tatsoi and romaine lettuce overwintered. Seeds are cheap, so take your chances!  

Have you ever experimented with a garden tower?  

Cucumbers, melons and beans readily climb towers, cages, and fences. Most of these plants don’t mind getting all tangled up with each other, or maybe that’s my laissez-faire attitude and they just adjust.  

Can you update volunteers on any plans to reopen the dining room in the summer?  

We do not have any firm plans yet. We will continue following guidelines from the experts before we can safely open the dining room. 

Do you have vegetables available for sale at the farm now?  

Under normal conditions CKC Farming sells produce right from Koiner Farm from 4-7pm every Monday-Friday, and at the FRESHFARM farmers market in downtown Silver Spring every Saturday morning. However, under corona conditions we have closed the farm to the public and are also not attending the market; instead we are running a home-delivery CSA. The 1st CSA session is currently full but check back in July! By then we also hope to have our regular sales at the farm and market running again too. For more information, please visit: https://www.ckcfarming.org/koiner-farm-csa  

Does Shepherd’s Table take meal donations…other than the cookies many of us send in on Sundays?  

We do take meal donations. You can purchase a meal from a local restaurant and “sponsor” a meal service if you’d like. However, it does need to be scheduled in advance with our Director of Operations, Haile Gebregziabher ([email protected] or 301-585-6463 X206). We also have a Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, where we order meals from restaurants to help support their businesses. Lastly, we paused our casserole program donations during COVID-19 but hope to open that program again in a few weeks. 

How can volunteers help with garden?  

If you’re interested in helping with the garden, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Marcy Merti ([email protected] or 301-585-6463 X217)

Our scout troop would like to help, and we are also working on our gardening skills. Is there anything we can do that would be helpful to you now?  

As you heard during the event, we had a wonderful garden workday in early March where master gardeners, scouts, youth groups and other volunteers came together and installed the initial phase of the Shepherd’s Table garden.  We had hoped to install the next phase of the garden – in-ground garden beds – in the fall, but we will have to wait to see if social distancing is relaxed in time for another workday this year. In the meantime, we are collecting names of people who would like to help. There may be opportunities to start seedlings for transplanting or constructing and delivering beds as we move through the summer. If you are interested, please contact Debbie Boger at [email protected]

A special thanks to everyone that played a part in it: Jenny Brown, Hannah Sholder, Changeover Media, Chris Weiss, Brookside Gardens, Chef Christina Moore, the planning committee, and our Board of Directors. And finally, we wish to thank YOU – our great community of amazing supporters – for tuning in, showing your support to Shepherd’s Table, and making our first virtual event “Spring Into Action!” a major success!

It is really amazing to see everyone, healthy and happy, joining in for our virtual event. We at Shepherd’s Table are extremely grateful for each and every single one of our supporters. Without your continuous support and kindness, we would not be able to continue serving the community in need in the same reliable fashion as before. Your gift of kindness and hope is greatly appreciated! We truly look forward to the day when we can all rejoin in person. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay connected as more great events are coming your way! 

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