The Silver Spring Regional Center occasional "e-blast"                
(Reemberto Rodriguez, Director)
Released Saturday, March 20, 2021 at Noon

Please visit our more robust directory of
"All Things Silver Spring"
for much more information, links, and contacts.




Coronavirus COVID-19 info

for the latest, please see the Press Releases.

Coronavirus Vaccine Information


Who is currently receiving vaccines?

  • County staff are vaccinating frontline health care workers and first responders (those who come into contact with ill and injured residents)
  • The State is providing vaccines to hospitals, who are administering vaccine to their staffs
  • federal contract through CVS and Walgreens is providing vaccine directly to nursing home staff and residents.
Vaccination clinics operated by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) are now offering COVID-19 vaccine to residents 65 to 74 years old, as well as essential workers, a priority group which includes transit workers, teachers, child care workers and individuals with developmental disabilities as vaccine supply allows. Community providers, including hospitals and retailers continue to vaccinate residents 65 and older, as well as educators and child care workers. The community-based providers are independent of the County-operated vaccination clinics.

Those 65 and older, frontline workers, and those with high risk medical conditions can preregister:  
For much more:
visit the County’s
main website and/or the COVID-19 website 
follow Montgomery County on 
Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo 


Here’s an important message from one of our faith leaders at the Silver Spring Civic Building.
Feel free to share. 

As you may know, there are still many people reluctant to get vaccinated and the County is working hard to get the message out about the importance of being inoculated.

This message is intended to reach our faith communities and beyond. 

Watch video:

Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board Committee Meetings

Monday, March 22nd at 7 p.m.


The Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board has three Committees:

  • Neighborhoods
  • Commercial Economic Development (CED)
  • Transportation, Environment, and Energy (TREE)

The full Board meets the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. The Committees meet the fourth Monday of the month at 7 p.m. The Committees usually meet in separate venues - whether in person or virtually.  Participants will join a Zoom meeting room where the chairs will introduce their topics for the evening and then we will utilize breakout rooms to host the three meetings simultaneously.  Guests will be able to choose which meetings they attend.

  • Neighborhoods - Will be taking a break this month to focus on next month's meeting.
  • CED - Will be meeting with Kelly Groff, President and CEO of Visit Montgomery to discuss how the SS regional area can benefit from services they provide during the COVID-19 pandemic and the critical role they play in telling the Montgomery County story. Come learn!
  • TREE -  The March meeting of the SSCAB Transportation, Energy, & Environment (TREE) Committee will be a discussion on and the completion of the TREE Committee's advice letter on a Regional Transportation and Infrastructure Plan.  While the body of the letter is near completion, there is concern over the list of projects and what we might be missing.  It is our desire to see as many specific projects as possible included in this list. Come share!

You must register at this link before joining the meeting: 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.




for some virtual events coming up

(Scroll down or link takes you to more info in this newsletter)
Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board Committee Meetings
Silver Spring Transportation Management District Representative Opening
A Conversation With SSCAB Member Vanesa Pinto, CHEER's Empowerment and Leadership Program Director
Community Serving Organizations Temporary Relocation
NOAA Open House Weekly Virtual Open House Events
Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan Updates
Campaign Launched to Save Long Branch Restaurants: ‘Pledge to Preserve’
FY 2021 Funding Opportunity Announcement via OMH
CREATE is seeking a new Treasurer for our Board of Directors. Will it be you?
Proposed County Budget for FY 2022
County Council Calendar
Women against Slavery: Then and Now
Montgomery College March Workshop For Success
Renter Town Hall
Middle Eastern American Authors Series at Montgomery County Public Libraries
Montgomery County Community Health Needs Assessment
Homes Not Borders Volunteering Opportunity
Online Process to Request Food Assistance Resources Available 24/7

Silver Spring Transportation Management District

Representative Opening

SSCAB is looking to appoint a 3rd representative to the SS TMD to represent North Silver Spring/West Silver Spring . This representative will join current representatives Harriet Quinn for Kemp Mill/4-Corners/East Silver Spring Sector Plan and Chris Perry for the Silver Spring Central Business District.

For more information on the SS TMD:
For more information on the SSCAB:

If you're interested in representing this area please email me your humble newsletter editor:

A Conversation With SSCAB Member Vanesa Pinto, CHEER's Empowerment and Leadership Program Director

Written By: Taylor Dibbert

I recently caught up with Vanesa Pinto; she started working at CHEER in 2014. Our exchange, which has been edited, is below. 

How has the pandemic affected your work with CHEER?

The main impact has been in the workload that I have now. This is directly related with the difficult and even dramatic situation of many more community members in Long Branch. The hard living circumstances are in many cases, much more difficult now. Therefore, we had to extend our help to many more people. For example, we started our food distribution with 46 families in our list. Nowadays, we have around 400 families and we have more people asking for help every week.

Due to the staffing at CHEER, having more work also translates into more stress and sometimes a helplessness feeling for not being able to do more to help those who feel abandoned or isolated. These are immigrant communities from Central America, Africa or Asia, who already have experienced the indifference of society before the pandemic.

However, thanks to the pandemic, and in order to keep the connection with community members, we have been using preferred means of communication. So far, it seems that text messages and phone calls are the best ones. Since many parents had to learn to use the Zoom application to help their children with school, we have been able to organize more meetings. Before the pandemic, in-person meetings were difficult for community members due to them being held at inconvenient times, traffic, or not having anyone at home who can stay with the children.

The ones that are more connected, CONEXO members and some others that have been actively participating in other programs, are more aware of their neighbor’s wellbeing. Lately, there have been more stories of collaboration and help within them. This is even more important when someone loses a loved one due to COVID-19 or related complications. These examples represent the kind of outcome that I am looking for and the type of inspiration that we want.
Read More

Community Serving Organizations Temporary Relocating & Expanding Some of Their Operations

Three local community serving organizations and some City of Takoma Park Library services will temporarily relocate (and in certain cases expand) out of spaces provided by the Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital at their old Takoma Park campus. This effort was sparked by Delegate Lorig Charkoudian and Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart. The Silver Spring Region Director Reemberto Rodriguez facilitated the process. 

The organizations include (a) Small Things Matter; (b) Audelia Community Response Team (ACRT); and, (c) Clifton Park Baptist Church Food Hub/Hydroponics Operations. These organizations will use the space to continue their work alleviating food insecurity in our community. More information - including how you can contribute and donate to these wonderful organizations - can be found in their respective web-sites:  

SMALL THINGS MATTER – a locally serving non-profit 
The space will serve as a pantry; and it will be used for packaging and storage of canned food and nonperishables. 
The space will be used as food and essentials distribution to families in the organization’s program. 
CLIFTON PARK BAPTIST CHURCH Food Hub Operations - the designated County Food Hub for Silver Spring Region  
The use of the space will complement the Clifton Park Food Hub by growing produce for the community. 
The City will use the space for some library services while the City's library is under construction. 

NOAA Open House Weekly Virtual Open House Events

Each week in March 2021, join the NOAA Live! Virtual Open House webinar series, and “visit” a few places where NOAA works across the country. Explore the hangar where NOAA keeps hurricane hunter planes, come inside the nation’s oldest public aquarium, sniff seafood at a NOAA seafood inspection lab, visit “mission control” where NOAA commands satellites in space, dive deep into an underwater sanctuary, and more - all from home!  

These free events are geared toward 2nd-8th graders, and they’re perfect for classrooms and families. All webinars are moderated and feature an American Sign Language interpreter.

Register now! Space is limited. Visit for more details.


Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities
Plan Updates

Join us for Virtual Visioning Sessions this March!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Visioning Phase! This is the phase where the Montgomery Planning team works with you to craft the vision for the future of Silver Spring. We will start in mid-March with the goal of arriving at a draft plan by the fall of 2021. There will be many ways to participate!
To get started, we will host five community virtual Visioning Sessions. These sessions will be held on Tuesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. throughout March and April. All of these sessions will be interactive - we will 'sketch' a plan and gather virtual sticky notes full of ideas for different areas of the plan. Because of the interactive format, we will be capping attendance at 40 people for each session.
We are organizing this initial stage of sessions by "Visioning Districts" to help us focus the discussion on each of these areas; all of the work from these sessions will be pulled together into one cohesive vision for the plan area. Please refer to the map below to understand how these “districts,” which are only a tool for the Visioning Sessions, are organized.
To register, click the links below (all events will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m.):
March 23 - South Silver Spring
March 30 - Metro Center/Ripley District
April 6 - Fenton Village
April 13 - Adjacent Communities
April 20 - North Silver Spring
If you register, you will receive a reminder 48 hours before the event, and a request to let us know if you cannot make it, so we can ensure we are not holding spots for those who are unable to attend. All sessions will be recorded and posted on the website.
We recommend participants join these sessions via computer or tablet, as it will be more challenging to follow the session on a smartphone. Participants will be allowed to join via phone, and facilitators will work to include them in the event, even if they cannot see the screen.


Campaign Launched to Save Long Branch Restaurants:

‘Pledge to Preserve’

This February, residents of the Long Branch neighborhood began signing on to a campaign to save their neighborhood restaurants. The campaign, called Pledge to Preserve, was launched Feb. 5 by the Long Branch Business League and MHP.

Zeroing in on the many restaurants in the Long Branch neighborhood that have suffered enormous financial losses over the past year of pandemic-related damages, the initiative asks community members to voluntarily commit to purchasing meals at least three times a month from any Long Branch restaurant.

At the end of the campaign’s first week, already twenty-eight local residents had signed on to the campaign.  “If we can get every person on our list to convince one friend to pledge, we can double that number soon,” said Catherine Rytkonen, the Business League’s marketing manager.

The Pledge to Preserve webpage lists the 15 participating Long Branch restaurants — along with their cuisine type, menu, and social media connections.  

The initiative represents a local Long Branch response to a wider national crisis. According to the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), one in four jobs lost during the pandemic have been in the food and beverage industry. That’s the equivalent of 5.9 million jobs lost.

According to the same study, if no direct aid is provided some 85 percent of independent restaurants will likely close by the end of this year.

The pandemic-related crisis hit a small business sector that could ill afford such a challenge.

“Even in normal, non-pandemic years it is difficult to run a restaurant and keep it in the black,” the Pledge to Preserve webpage points out.  “Many restaurants generate as much as half their annual income from  weddings, parties, and  holiday-related events (Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Christmas). This year all that has been cancelled.” 

What is more, even though Long Branch’s restaurants have so far managed to keep their doors open, there is no guarantee they will all survive the coming months without vigorous and, indeed, greatly increased support from private persons and the public sector.

FY 2021 Funding Opportunity Announcement via OMH


The Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administers grant programs to support projects that implement innovative models to improve minority health and reduce health disparities.

OMH has released the following notice of funding opportunity for which applications are now being accepted.

Announcement Number: MP-CPI-21-006
Opportunity Title: Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19
Award Amount: up to $4,000,000 for urban communities; up to $3,000,000 for rural communities
Estimated Total: $250,000,000
Application Due Date: April 20, 2021, 6:00 PM ET

This notice solicits applications for projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of local government implementation of evidence-based health literacy strategies that are culturally appropriate to enhance COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and/or other mitigation measures (e.g., public health prevention practices and vaccination) in racial and ethnic minority populations and other socially vulnerable populations, including racial and ethnic minority rural communities. Applicant eligibility is limited to localities (e.g., cities, counties, parishes, or other similar subdivisions). OMH encourages applicants to partner with a Minority Serving Institution for quality improvement activities and program evaluation.

Click here to access the notice of funding opportunity.

The technical assistance webinar for potential applicants was held on March 17. Watch the Replay Exit Disclaimer.

Visit our Promotional Resource Page for resources to help you share this funding opportunity.

Thanks to our SSCAB member John Seelke for bringing this grant to our attention!

CREATE is seeking a
new Treasurer for our Board of Directors.
Will it be you?


We're looking for an energetic self-starter who is passionate about making a difference in our local community. We welcome all treasurer candidates who are interested in being a part of a fast-growing organization committed to providing quality arts programs and art therapy/mental health services to people in Montgomery County and across the DMV. Board members do NOT have to have a background in art.

As an officer of the corporation and member of the Board, the primary responsibility of the Treasurer is to oversee the reporting of the organization’s finances. In this position, the Treasurer works closely with our Executive Director to review budgets and audits, and monitor our financial health. The Treasurer is expected to attend all Board meetings (virtually). 

CREATE provides art education programs for all ages, community arts partnerships to strengthen community ties, and art therapy services to people living with mental health challenges and developmental disabilities. Board Members should be willing, able and enthusiastic about utilizing their expertise and community networks to further the organization’s mission and goals. 

Please direct inquiries to Linda Marson, Executive Director,

Proposed County Budget for FY 2022

County Executive Marc Elrich released his recommended operating budget for FY 2022. The budget highlights the county’s focus on response, recovery, and relief in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. (See PowerPoint presentation) It also emphasizes the county's forward momentum in the following areas:

  • advancing racial equity and social justice
  • building bus rapid transit
  • expanding early care and education
  • improving economic and community development
  • preserving and increasing affordable housing
  • reimagining public safety
  • tackling climate change

The County Council has scheduled public hearings on the proposed operating budget for April 6, 7 and 8. Those interested in testifying can sign up online starting March 19 or by calling 240-777-7803. The council encourages residents to use #MoCoBudget2022 to communicate their views on the budget via social media.  

County Council Calendar

Click the image below for more information

Click the image above for more information

Women against Slavery: Then and Now

Thursday, March 25 at 3:30-4:30pm


Book Talk: "Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery"

Women abolitionists have always faced opposition, but they have persevered. The author will highlight the valiant work of several women abolitionists past and present.

Janet Willen is co-author with Marjorie Gann of Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery and Five Thousand Years of Slavery, both published by Tundra Books. Speak a Word for Freedom profiles fourteen courageous women from the 1700s to today who fought against slavery throughout the world. In its starred review Publishers Weekly wrote, “Readers who think of slavery as an institution relegated to the past will be enlightened by this engrossing study of female abolitionists from the 18th century to the present day.”

A writer and editor for more than thirty years, Janet published professional magazine articles and edited academic and school books. She is a longtime volunteer with the Montgomery County Public Library and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Join us for this special presentation in honor and celebration of Women's History Month. 

Join us in Zoom:

Or Dial In: 301 715 8592  Meeting ID: 939 7759 0780

Montgomery College March Workshop For Success



Important information:

• All classes will only be offered via Zoom

You must register before March 28, 2021.

All new students will take a placement test. After you register, you will receive information to make a testing appointment.

•All classes are free except for the Advanced ESOL class. If you are placed in that class, you will be required to pay $100 for tuition.

If you are a returning student, we will ask for your M#, level, and last teacher’s name. If you don’t remember some of these, that is okay. Just tell us what you remember.

•Some returning students might need a test. We will tell you if you need a test.



Please register by clicking on the link below:


The Orientation/testing session has 3 parts:

1.Attend online (Zoom) orientation session

2.Take 30 minutes online Reading Test

3.Take 30 minutes online Math Test

4.We will place you in classes depending on the level of your Reading and Math skills.


Orientation and Testing Schedule:

•    Saturday, March 13th, 11:00 am–1:00 pm    •Wednesday, March 24th, 6:30–8:30 pm

•   Tuesday, March 30th, 11:00 am–1:00 pm      •Saturday, April 3rd, 11:00 am–1:00 pm

•    Wednesday, April 7th, 6:30–8:30 pm             •Thursday, April 15th, 11:30 am–1:00 pm

•    Saturday, April 17th, 11:00 am–1:00 p.m.     •Wednesday, April 21st, 6:30–8:30 pm


Renter Town Hall

Wednesday, March 31 at 7:00-8:30 p.m

The Renters Alliance will hold its next Renter Town Hall Wednesday, March 31, 7-830 p.m.  As you all know, we are in the midst of an eviction crisis as well as a pandemic and keeping our most vulnerable residents informed of available rental assistance and vaccine information is critical. Your assistance in getting the word out through your newsletters and other communications is very important and welcome. 

Here's the Zoom link:

Middle Eastern American Authors Series at
Montgomery County Public Libraries


In partnership with the Office of Community Partnerships’ Middle Eastern American Advisory Group (MEAGG), Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) will offer a series of programs focusing on various Middle Eastern American authors and illustrators.

The free virtual author series will take place monthly on the third Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. February through July. The events will be moderated by Debbie Trent, MEAGG chair, or Karen Leggett, co-chair of the Maryland Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt). Registration is required for the free programs.

Rashin Kheiriyeh; April 20

Rashin Kheiriyeh, internationally recognized author/illustrator, who has published more than 80 books in the U.S, Europe, and Asia, including her native Iran. 

Nadia Hashimi; May 18

Nadia Hashimi, Montgomery County pediatrician turned novelist, whose parents came to the U.S. from Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion and author of Sparks Like Stars.

Susan Muaddi Daraj; June 15

Susan Muaddi Daraj, author of A Curious Land: Stories from Home, a short story collection which won the 2014 AWP Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction and a 2016 Arab American Book Award.

Pauline Kaldas; July 20

Pauline Kaldas, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA and author of Looking Both Ways, a collection of essays and The Penguin Book of Migration Literature.

Montgomery County Community Health Needs Assessment

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm

Montgomery County is currently conducting its Community Health Needs Assessment and would love to hear from you about your experiences with the health care in your community.

You are invited to participate in an online/telephonic Zoom Community Conversation of Silver Spring residents to discuss your thoughts about health and wellness in Montgomery County. The Community Conversation will occur on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm.   You will receive a $20 grocery store gift card for your participation.

The online/telephonic Zoom Community Conversation will take no more than 90 minutes. To register to participate please see the attached flyer, or simply click on this web address or copy and paste the entire URL into the address field of your web browser.

The information you share will help Montgomery County address health concerns and identify potential solutions to improve the health and wellness of our community.

We know you’re very busy and we appreciate the time you take to give us your thoughts and suggestions.

Homes Not Borders Volunteering Opportunity


Homes Not Borders is a new nonprofit whose mission is to provide the refugee, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and asylum-seeking population of the D.C. area with what they need to thrive and feel at home in the United States. We do this by preparing their home upon arrival and helping them with employment assistance soon after they are resettled.

Homes Not Borders relies on volunteers. Please consider joining its volunteer team setting up homes, picking up furniture (all following COVID protocol) or mentoring a refugee or SIV in a similar career (finance and international development, especially).  There is an opportunity, no matter what your strengths!

Visit to learn more and email if you are interested.


Online Process to
Request Food Assistance
Resources Available 24/7

Residents looking for information on food assistance resources can now request help by completing a simple online form. Available in seven languages (Amharic, Chinese, English, French, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese), the form is reviewed by a trained resource specialist, and residents receive a return phone call within one business day. The specialist will determine a resident’s individual food needs and help them locate food assistance in their community. No Personally identifiable information is needed to get help.

Information is available about free food distribution sites, free meal and grocery delivery, SNAP (Food Stamps), local food assistance providers, and other resources in Montgomery County. Residents can also call 311 and ask for the Food Access Call Center to get help with their food needs.

The Food Access Call Center opened in June 2020 and has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to address the increasing need for food assistance across the County. As of mid-December, the Food Access Call Center has responded to more than 2,000 calls/referrals.


If you live in Takoma Park, you can also visit the City's link:
Si vives en Takoma Park, también puedes visitar el enlace de la Ciudad


Please visit our more robust directory of
"All Things Silver Spring"
for much more information, links, and contacts.


Silver Spring Civic Building
One Veterans Plaza
Silver Spring, MD  20910
comments, ideas, and/or suggestions?  e-mail HERE
See you around Silver Spring!