Martha’s Table: empowering D.C.’s children and families for over 35 years

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What’s the story?

Martha’s Table began in 1979 as a result of the partnership between Dr. Veronica Maz and Father Horace McKenna, who wanted to create a safe place for children to eat and read after school. In response to the needs of the community, Martha’s Table gradually expanded their services. They now address emergency needs with food and clothing programs, and work to ensure a bright future for children and families through education and family support services.

Today, Martha’s Table reaches thousands of people through their food, education, and thrift store programs with significant support from 16,000 volunteers every year.

So, it’s not a soup kitchen?

Yes and no. Every night of the year, Martha’s Table hosts a one-pot supper at 4 locations throughout the District – but they partner children, families, and neighbors in many more ways than just their nightly meal.

Their Healthy Start Center offers early childhood and out-of-school time education, and their Parent Success Center offers parent engagement programming. Martha’s Outfitters thrifts stores engage the D.C. community and provided free clothing to over 10,000 neighbors last year, and Martha’s Markets and Joyful Food Markets bring free groceries to over 30 locations throughout the city.

But wait, there’s more!

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Martha’s Table programs are divided into three initiatives: Healthy Start, Healthy Eating, and Healthy Connections.


Their high quality, nationally accredited Healthy Start program offers full day early childhood education to children from 3 months to 3 years of age, as well as out-of-school time programming for pre-kindergarten and elementary-aged students. These comprehensive programs lay the framework for school readiness and help students develop skills to ensure academic and life success.


Martha’s Table believes that access to fresh, healthy food is essential for supporting stronger children, families, and community. Their Healthy Eating initiatives work to ensure healthy food for those in need and support children and their families to make healthy choices.


As children progress through middle school, high school and college, Martha’s Table supports D.C.’s youth with service, leadership, and work opportunities as they mature into their future as learners, leaders, and earners.

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What’s the impact?

In 2015, Martha’s Table served over over 1,000,000 meals, distributed free clothing and housewares to over 10,000 neighbors in need, and provided education to over 200 children and older youth.

“Martha’s Table executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way and outperforms most other charities in America.” – Charity Navigator

  • Number of children enrolled in Healthy Start programs: 200+
  • Healthy meals distributed at Martha’s Markets: 344,000+
  • Shoppers served at the Daily Emergency Lobby Market: 8,700+
  • Number of meals served by McKenna’s Wagon: 200,000+
  • Shoppers in crisis receiving free clothing and housewares: 5,000+

How to get involved

Join the thousands of volunteers who support Martha’s Table work by signing up here. Additionally, you can make monetary donations here.

Getting hitched? Use your big day to support the work of Martha’s Table by creating a charitable wedding registry!


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