Published on: Sunday, December 13, 2020 City Council & Mayor Blog

A Message From Mayor Stewart: We Are Here for Each Other - Updated 12/18/2020


The Mayors Blog is updated – December 18, 2020
Mayor Stewart updates her blog with translations in Amharic, French and Spanish languages to help share her message throughout other communities.

We are in the tenth month of the uncertainty and enormity of the COVID-19 crisis. While a vaccine appears on the way, we continue to witness the impact the virus is having every day on our families, friends, neighbors, and local businesses.

More than ever since this crisis began, we need to come together as a community to support and help each other. This starts with wearing a mask when in public. Also, stay up to date on the Montgomery County public health guidelines on gatherings, and while I know it can be difficult this time of year, please do not travel for the holidays.

As we have been over the last ten months, the City is here for all of you and will continue to be here.

I am deeply appreciative of all the support, patience, and compassion as we face this crisis together. Our City staff continues to work around the clock to make sure our government keeps running and residents, especially those most vulnerable, are being cared for.  We are working in coordination with County, State, and regional groups, as well as non-profits because we cannot do this alone.

When the crisis first began, we worked on getting reliable testing in our community and we have achieved that.

Every Wednesday and Saturday we have no appointment necessary for FREE COVID-19 testing at

  • Takoma Park Recreation Center
    7315 New Hampshire Avenue
    10:00 am – 5:00 pm
    View the flyer

Addressing food insecurity is also one of our top priorities. We have been working with non-profits to get food to those in need. Grayce Wiggins, our Housing and Community Development Manager, sits on the Montgomery County Food Council to assist in the coordinating of food distribution.

We also know residents need assistance paying their rents, condo fees, receiving unemployment benefits, and much more. Our City staff continues to provide one-on-one support. Personally, I have seen them in action late at night and on the weekends. Together we have been on the phone, talking with building managers and owners to ensure buildings are properly maintained during the pandemic, and assisting residents with accurate information in different languages.  You can see the latest on the City’s efforts here.

City staff continues to keep updating the Information and Resources: COVID-19  page where you can get information about:

  • City facilities and services
  • Resources including where to get masks, food distribution, and much more.
  • Information and resources for businesses
  • Things to do
  • And More!

There are also recommendations on how you can support local organizations and businesses during this time. Check back frequently because we are constantly adding and updating the information.

A few things to highlight for the next couple of weeks:

  • Toy DriveOur City Police Department accepts toys for children aged 2-12 years old through noon December 23, as well as monetary donations and gift cards.
  • Winter Coat Drive. Bring clean, gently used warm coats and jackets in any size, gloves/mittens, and scarves, to the lobby of our City Police Dept. at the Community Center, for those in need this year, in partnership with Adventist Community Services. Ends Friday, December 18.
  • Volunteers Needed for Food Distribution on Saturday, December 19. Please join me on Saturday, December 19 to help the Shepherds of Zion Ministries Intl. Church in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank and the United States Veterans Reserve Corps and the Maryland Medical Reserve Corps distributes food at Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES). For more details email me at

To stay connected with the City, please be sure you are signed up for:

Facing this crisis together also requires taking time to take care of yourself. As we enter the upcoming week and continue to check-in and care for others in our community, make sure you are also checking-in and caring for yourself. I continue to go back to this Washington Post article for helpful reminders of how to care for yourself and others during this time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides great resources. Here are some things they suggest you can do to support yourself:

This time of year my family observes Advent, and each Sunday evening in the weeks leading up to Christmas we light a candle in our Advent wreath. When my children were younger they wrote this poem that we recite when lighting the candles each week:

  • On the 1st week I have hope.
  • On the 2nd week I have love.
  • On the 3rd week I have joy.
  • On the 4th week, I wish for peace for all, through winter, spring, summer, and fall.

As we enter the final weeks of 2020, I wish you all hope, love, joy, and peace for the coming year.