You can help the families we serve

as they recover from the Lyttonsville Rd. fire in Silver Spring

A March 3rd explosion and fire destroyed one building and damaged two others at the Friendly Garden Apartments in Silver Spring on Lyttonsville Road. The conflagration left 14 of the families we serve with injuries, two of whom are critical. The tragedy also displaced 288 residents for several nights and displaced approximately 50 indefinitely when the fire damaged their homes – 2- to 4-bedroom apartments for families. When they evacuated, they did so immediately, carrying very little or nothing.

Communities Together provides Community and Resident Engagement programs to the families of Friendly Garden Apartments as an outside nonprofit under contract. One of our top partners, Camp Fire, has been running youth development activities at Friendly Gardens for the past decade.

As we have throughout the pandemic, we supplement activities with assistance, from food to rental assistance to health care. Some residents of Friendly Garden have grown up there. Some have lived in this strong community for 20, 30, 40, and, in one case, 50 years. We know our neighbors at Friendly Garden. They are lovely people. They take care of each other. They have been unbelievably patient, grateful, and resilient in the aftermath of a tragedy the rest of us cannot fathom.

In the aftermath of the fire, we have undertaken the following since the County brought us onto the site the evening of March 3rd:

  • Working with and through our partner, Camp Fire, we have coordinated the provision of programs and assistance.
  • To that end, our team and the Camp Fire team have been meeting, calling, and texting the families of Friendly Garden one by one and in small groups every day. We are also coordinating with the agencies and nonprofits providing emergency relief. The families have suffered a trauma, and we have been introducing them to Red Cross counselors and to Montgomery County trauma care specialists.
  • We are also focused on working with the families to identify their needs and wishes, providing their requests and information to external agencies, and helping to coordinate and inform the provision of assistance from the Red Cross, Montgomery County, MHP, the property management firm, and others who are with us on the frontlines of the emergency response.
  • We are also advocating on behalf of the residents to ensure that governmental and nonprofit agencies avoid duplication and confusion, provide the most critical aid, and provide the most crucial assistance.

Many of you have been asking how you can help. Some of you have come to Friendly Garden to drop off assistance. We welcome and appreciate your donations.

Before you make a donation, please read the following guide to donations: ** MHP is taking donations for direct, immediate cash assistance that will go directly to the residents through a process overseen and sanctioned by Montgomery County. We support that effort, and we have one team member on the committee overseeing the assistance. You can make your donation via the County website home page, which is linked to the MHP web home page.

** We are not accepting cash or clothing. If you wish to donate, please visit the County-sanctioned MHP donation page. If you have clothing to donate, please bring it to Goodwill.

** Communities Together is raising funds to support our (unplanned yet extraordinary) services to the families. You can make a donation here to help us set up, coordinate, and run programs and activities for our families as they stabilize, recover, heal, and re-build their lives. Again, we have been, or will be, providing:

  • Information to residents, advocating on their behalf, putting them in touch with counselors, acting as intermediaries with the management firm, the County, MHP, and the Red Cross. Our team members are working every day and around the clock to provide these services.
  • Programs and activities to help families recover from the trauma, heal, and rebuild their lives, whether they have moved back on-site or remain displaced. We are working with residents, listening to their requests and stories. They have a voice as we design the activities in coordination with external partners.

Please click here to make a secure and convenient donation:

Communities Together Inc is a tax exempt 501(c) (3) non-profit. Donations are fully tax-deductible.

CTI’s tax ID number: 81-4614744



A scene at Friendly Garden before the explosion and ensuing fire


after the explosion and ensuing fire