Martha's Table Expanding to Ward 8

A rendering of the upcoming Martha's Table at Stanton Square. On May 4 Martha's Table President and CEO Patty Stonesifer announced that the nonprofit is partnering with the Horning Brothers and the Horning Family Fund to open a new location in the Hillsdale area. Photo: Martha's Table 

Long-time Ward 8 resident Elaine Mooney knows all about Martha's Table. “When my kids were small, back in the 80s, they used to have a daycare there,” she explained. “During that time I was in the shelter ... They would have the kids come in while the parents go out and look for jobs or do other things like that.” When Mooney found a job the organization gave her a referral to shop at their thrift shop, Martha's Outfitters, for professional clothes. “They've always been helping people for so many years,” she said. “It really is a good program.” Located along the 14th Street corridor since its inception in 1979, Martha's Table plans to open a new location in the Hillsdale area in 2018. 

The Announcement

During a reception on May 9 celebrating Martha's Table's 35th anniversary, President and CEO Patty Stonesifer announced the upcoming expansion. “In recent years we’ve focused on the delivery and accessibility of healthy food and quality clothing for families in Wards 7 and 8,” she said in press statement. “This new center offers an opportunity to stand with families and individuals in a more meaningful way – by sharing a range of resources that support individuals to earn, learn and lead as they progress through life.” 

The nonprofit will embark on a $20 million campaign to fund the project. The Horning Family Fund (HFF) contributed $10 million and land located between Stanton, Pomeroy, and Elvans roads. “We are delighted to offer this gift of financial support and land to Martha’s Table, which will allow it to expand its presence in Ward 8 and bring its critical Healthy Start, Healthy Eating, and Healthy Connections programs to The Commons at Stanton Square,” said HFF co-founder Joe Horning in a press statement. “We are thrilled to partner with Martha’s Table to create a new place where families may celebrate and care for their children.” 

A Presence in Ward 8

While the headquarters of Martha's Table will remain at 14th Street, the organization has been a presence east of the Anacostia River since 2011, when it launched Martha's Markets, pop-up grocery markets, at eight DC public schools including Hendley (Ward 8) and Smothers and Thomas Neval (both Ward 7). The nonprofit also launched Martha's Outfitters, its community thrift store, in Anacostia in 2013. 

Timothy Jones, director of healthy connections, said that one of the reasons for expansion is to better serve residents east of the Anacostia River. “At this point we're doing exploratory learning. We want to expand in a way that is respectful to the community.” He explained that “40 percent of families we serve live in Wards 7 and 8 … they're traveling across the bridge to see us. This move allows us to be more effective and stronger.” Joan Woods, Martha's Table's director of development, agreed. “The more we can do, and we already have a footprint here, it will only increase as we expand to more schools with our Joyful Food Markets and proceed to build a second center near Elvans and Stanton Roads.”

Housing

In addition to the new Martha's Table location, the project will also feature 125 affordable-rent one-to-three bedroom apartments and 42 market-rate three-bedroom town homes. Amenities will include a playground, fitness center, and a partnership with Community of Hope, which will provide medical services. “We partnered with Martha's Table over a year ago with the idea of bringing their programming to Hillsdale,” explained David Roodberg, CEO and president of Horning Brothers. “Our goal is to bring quality mixed-income housing to the area.” They hope to break ground by 2016. 

Currently the project is under the planned unit development (PUD) process, a public review procedure in which the Zoning Commission reviews new development applications. Roodberg expects that their initial hearing will be scheduled for July, with another, which will be open to the public, scheduled for December. In the meantime the development team met with ANC 8B on March 17 to discuss their plans. “The plan was to engage early so that we can make the ANC a part of the process,” Roodberg explained. “It worked out well and I hope we can continue to have this conversation.”

Resident-Approved

Today Mooney is a grandmother who shops at Martha's Market whenever it stops at their school, Hendley Elementary. “I think it’s a good idea,” she said of Martha's Table's expansion. “It'll be more for the parents and the kids participating and giving parents something to do ... It'll be a good idea to have more in Ward 8.” Another frequent Martha's Market visitor, Yolanda Williams, agreed. “I would love it,” she said. “It helps with the children ... as well as single parents. It helps us grow better with food and teaching kids how to eat better and appreciate more of the better things in life.” 

Martha's Table is located at 2114 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009. For more information call 202-328-6608 or visit info@marthastable.org.


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