Legacy of Dr. Veronica Maz

Join us in remembering the legacy of Dr. Veronica Maz, a lifelong public servant and the founder of Martha’s Table, who passed away on June 24, 2014 at the age of 89. Dr. Maz was a tremendous force in the District’s social service movement in the 1980s, establishing some of our community’s most essential social service organizations.

Washington Post Obituary

In Tribute to Dr. Maz

“Dr. Maz was a visionary whose example has given inspiration to staff and volunteers of Martha’s Table to carry on her legacy. I am ever grateful to her for bringing me onto the Martha’s Table Board.”
— Barbara Washburn, Martha’s Table Board Member

“I’m 31 now but, I remember being a little girl living on 14th and W street just like it were yesterday. Ms. Veronica made sure that she provided the kids with great staff who loved working with us and showing us new and better things in life than what we were experiencing and had going on in our neighborhoods. Whenever I walked through Martha’s Table doors, I always felt safe no matter what was going on outside. If there was ever a time a kid wanted to speak to Ms. Veronica, she always had the time. I love her for all that she has done not only for me, but for every other young or elder person living in DC also. Through the love, care, patience, consistency, hope and dreams that Ms. Veronica and her staff provided, I became a Youth Counselor. For these last 10 years, I have been loving what I do and I don’t want to change it for anything. So I want to say THANK YOU Ms. Veronica and the Martha’s Table staff — it’s because of you, I am where I’m at today.”
— Tamika Butler, Former youth/ Now a volunteer

“Dr. Maz’s example of selflessness and compassion inspire me to put my heart into being Jesus to the downtrodden all around me, never shrinking back into my own shelter of comfort and ease, but always seeking to lift another’s burden. God bless her legacy!”
— Aimee La Buy Crane, SOME Contributor

“I called her Ms. V. because when my daughter Juanita first started here at Martha’s table she was about six or seven years old. I met Ms. Veronica and she fell in love with my daughter. From then on, Juanita would just go and talk to her, and she would always tell her to strive to be your best. And those words stuck with her. So I say: thank you Ms. Veronica. We love you, and you will be forever missed. Rest in God’s loving arms dear sweet lady, and thanks for all that you have done for our community.”
— Rejeanie Bazemore, Martha’s Table Lead Teacher

“An amazing woman with an even greater story of how she turned her passion for public service into such great organizations that addressed, and continue to address, the core needs of individuals, children, and families from all walks of life. We are all grateful for Dr. Maz and Father McKenna’s vision and dedication to service.”
— Selena Gonzalez, Martha’s Table Staff

“I am honored to follow in Dr. Maz’s footsteps – and learn from her humility, passion and service. We benefit from her efforts every day.”
— Patty Stonesifer, Martha’s Table CEO

“I can humbly but confidently say “Thank You” for co-founding an organization that has changed and enhanced my life by affording me the opportunity to do God’s work in the field known as Martha’s Table for the past 18 years. Your tireless effort and commitment to the people of the 14th street corridor (especially the young people) has touched and transformed more people than can be counted. It is a privilege to continue the work that you have started for the time that I am at Martha’s Table and even beyond. This mission is ministry!”
— Timothy Jones, Director of Education, Elementary to Career, Martha’s Table

“Very thankful and grateful for the work, vision of Veronica Maz”
— Roseinia Garmany, Martha’s Table Staff

“She was a visionary. She saw a need, found solutions and would start something with nothing. She had the uncanny ability to draw people to raise money if not volunteer their services to help the cause of the poor and the homeless and marginalized. I joined Martha’s Table in 1982 when she asked me to do what I could to recruit and keep volunteers who were constantly coming and going. Even service recipients or consumers could volunteer she believed. She would ask them directly, ‘Need food, shelter or clothing? How about giving some volunteer time in exchange?’ Children had free meals with two pennies or an empty aluminum can … talk of recycling early on. But no one was turned away for lack of food or resources. Can’t find or go to soup kitchens? She got a truck donated and turned it into a van and named it McKenna’s Wagon to serve meals in parks and public places (one of them in front of the White House) where the homeless would usually gather. A lasting memory of her devotion to the poor and the homeless: She asked me to help her arrange a funeral service in a church for a homeless woman found dead in an alley. A decent burial for one who had no home, no family or friends around. Dr. Veronica Maz has also found her final resting place, but her legacy remains with Martha’s Table as it continues to serve the cause she devoted her life to.”
— Juliet Orzal, Former Martha’s Table Staff

“I’m so thankful for the vision of Dr. Maz that has helped so many over the years. It’s great to see how Martha’s Table continues to grow and remain authentic in keeping the ideas of Dr. Maz to serve the community and break the cycle of poverty through quality food, education and opportunity.”
— Tanya Hales, Martha’s Table Staff

“Dr. Maz was a very outspoken, lovely woman. I appreciate her greatly because she is the person who made a way for my family. Dr. Maz was why I wanted to come to work every day. She always made me and my family feel welcome. She was always looking out for the people. I will miss her smile and laugh that seemed to brighten the room.”
— Robert “Blue” Carter, Former Employee and Lifelong Volunteer

“I did not know Dr. Maz but her legacy speaks to great fortitude and unselfish commitment. Martha’s Table and other community supports are essential life enhancing vehicles for those in need the most; our children and mothers. We should all strive to give or give-back. I salute a true SPIRIT.”
— John Robinson, Admirer and DC Native

“I have enjoyed learning more about Dr. Maz and look forward to fulfilling her vision through my work.”
— Joan Woods, Martha’s Table staff

Dr. Veronica Maz

Dr. Veronica Maz

Co-Founder of Martha’s Table

Before founding Martha’s Table in 1979, Dr. Maz worked with Father Horace B. McKenna to create S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat), a soup kitchen to help feed the city’s destitute citizens, and House of Ruth, a home for abused and neglected women. Dr. Maz realized that the city’s children were not protected from the violence and drugs plaguing DC streets at the time, especially in the dangerous 14th Street corridor. She banded together with Father McKenna once more to found Martha’s Table, a safe haven where children could go after school for a meal and a place to read and play.

35 years later, Martha’s Table continues to serve the District’s most vulnerable children and families, addressing hunger, delivering quality education programs and providing a low-cost thrift store that provides free clothing and household goods for those in crisis. No longer a one-room operation, nearly 90 employees serve more than 18,000 people in our community each year with healthy food, quality education, and affordable clothing.

Though we are best known for McKenna’s Wagon, our daily mobile feeding program for those who are homeless and hungry, Martha’s Table food programs for hungry families are also delivered through Martha’s Markets, our free, healthy grocery market in our lobby, at a nearby community center and in 8 local elementary schools. Our mobile markets feature a substantial selection of fresh produce and other healthier food selections in our “choice markets” where our families choose more than 20 pounds of groceries (enough for 19 meals).

Dr. Maz, who received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, was a sociology professor at Georgetown when she began working with Jesuit priest Father McKenna in an attempt to turn concerns about poverty in the District into action. Together, they founded a soup kitchen when they saw people were hungry. Soon after, Dr. Maz, seeing children in need of a safe haven, began an afterschool program where kids could get homework help and eat snacks. In 1980, they named the agency Martha’s Table. As needs were witnessed, the programs at Martha’s Table continued to expand– a legacy of action to address challenges that continues today.

Through Martha’s Table and many other critical actions, Dr. Maz’s legacy lives on. Her impact in the fight against hunger and poverty in the District is immeasurable, and Martha’s Table will be forever grateful for her vision, her service, and her audacity.