So What Else Sunday and Weekday Walk Up Food Pantry

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So What Else?


The So What Else (SWE) Food Pantry is located in the Lakeforest Mall (701 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg MD, 20877) parking lot adjacent to the Ruby Tuesday restaurant entrance (you'll see a large shipping container, that's us!).

We are located outside so appropriate clothing is important! No open toe shoes; dangling adornments should be secured to prevent snagging; comfortable work clothes you expect to get dirty. Except in the case of extreme weather we will operate the pantry. We'll post any closure notice online but you can text 240 421 9271 confirm if we are operating during an extraordinary weather event.

The Food Pantry provides relief to families experiencing food insecurity. Volunteers work with SWE staff on ​​designated tasks​, including but not limited to, assisting with site set up and breakdown, loading / unloading pallets of food; breaking down large pallets of produce into parcels ready for pick up by clients in person or for delivery to distribution sites / homebound clients.​ Everyone is responsible for keeping all work and service areas safe. Awareness and initiative in preventing the accumulation of / rapid clearing of debris from traffic & staging areas is highly appreciated.

Regular Opening Hours:
The Food Pantry is open to walk up clients from 10AM to 4PM Tuesday to Friday.

Volunteers are welcome from 8AM to 5PM Monday to Friday.

On Monday’s volunteers are primarily involved with deliveries (unloading; stacking produce / goods in storage or designated area) or pickups (collecting food donations from retailers, farms, warehouses, etc.); not staffing the walk-up pantry.

On Sundays we need volunteers from 10AM to 4PM.

  • Be prepared - We are outside 90% of the time so be sure to look up the weather for the day and dress appropriately
  • Be kind - Just because the service is free, doesn’t mean our service lacks in quality. Make sure you are always providing excellent customer service
  • Take initiative - there is always something to do. If you are standing around with nothing to do, ask someone how you can help.
  • Be prepared to sort through produce to remove bad food
  • Be prepared to lift 30 pounds regularly, 50 pounds occasionally
  • Please communicate if you are running late or if you can’t attend as scheduled
  • If you are sick, do not come in. Please advise accordingly

SWE provides food security to hundreds of families each day. Your service is essential to our mission. By offering food security SWE helps families navigate the complexities of social vulnerability and economic uncertainty.

An average of 375 people use our pantry each day and are able to secure 25 - 40 meals each, per visit for their families. We also host and contribute to over 35 neighborhood distributions a week and do about 300 home deliveries per week.

To learn more about SWE and service opportunities with SWE, please visit

For questions about a particular service or for more information about volunteer opportunities with SWE, please email

Thanks & Happy Serving!

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About So What Else?



Mission Statement

So What Else's mission is to improve the lives of children and families living in underserved communities in the Baltimore-Washington Metro Area by providing food security, access to basic necessities, and high-quality out-of-school time programs in literacy, athletics, and the visual and performing arts while inspiring young people to give back to the community by creating volunteer opportunities for citizens of all ages.


So What Else (SWE) ... can we do to help? is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 and focused on building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through direct programming and in partnership with allied organizations. Our primary programming embraces two key areas: Food Security and Youth Development Programs.

SWE started with Youth programming and added Food Security as we witnessed the massive economic dislocations caused by the C19 Pandemic and the consequent explosion in food insecurity. SWE and its community partners operate several Food Relief programs in Montgomery and surrounding counties, in Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

SWE needs volunteers who share our passion for service and seek to have an immediate and lasting impact upon the lives and fortunes of those we serve. Our volunteers are essential to our ability to deliver reliable, accessible and high-quality education programming and food security services.

SWE welcomes volunteers of all backgrounds, experiences and capabilities. Our greatest needs at present are for Food Pantry helpers, Bulk Food Recovery & Distribution Warehouse workers, Delivery & Distribution drivers and Teacher's Aides / Classroom Assistants.

Please contact to share your area of interest and learn more about volunteering with SWE. Visit to learn more about our programs and impact! Thanks!

Children & Youth


We'll work with your schedule.


701 Russell Ave.Lakeforest MallGaithersburgGaithersburg, MD 20877



  • Food Delivery / Distribution
  • Food Service
  • Child Welfare
  • Food & Beverage Services
  • Disaster Response
  • Nutrition


  • Teens
  • People 55+


  • Must be at least 14
  • Shifts are usually 3 hours but we will work with your schedule!
  • If 14 or younger you will need to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. If you want to help with Deliveries, you will need a valid DL, proof of insurance and sign the appropriate waiver.

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