From food pantries to playgrounds, Mt. Airy’s ‘Ms. Pudding’ dedicated to filling local needs

Ever since Elvira Evans was a little girl, she was referred to as Pudding, a nick name her father gave her and didn’t quite shake. 

So it only made sense to give the community initiative she started in 1996 the same name – Pudding’s Pantry. She created it as a way to give back based on lessons she learned from her mother.

Neighborhood pantry

“Even though there were eight of us, we had many people that would come to our house,” said Evans. “All you had to do was have a problem at home or something and my mother found food for you.”

Her mother’s selflessness taught the Mt. Airy resident to always help others and at 81 years old, she still holds on to that valuable lesson helping those in their time of need.

Though her mobility is limited, she still picks up the food that area farmer’s markets and businesses donate to the pantry, which is now being run out of the Germantown Church of Brethren on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

Helping out at Pleasant

She also has been an integral part of the revitalization of Pleasant Playground. Since the playground’s opening in the 1950s, Evans has become a staple community member at the recreation center.

“If you send your children to the playground, I think you need to be there and help out at the playground because the playground director can’t do everything,” said Evans. “You need volunteers and community input.”

She is currently the president of the advisory council and is working to implement more programs for both the youth and senior citizens to create a safe space and bridge the gap between generations.

Her biggest accomplishment so far has been getting the playground moved from Boyer Street to Chew Avenue, which makes it more accessible to everyone including senior citizens that no longer will have to walk up a lot of steps.

Dan Wheeler, Pleasant Playground’s site supervisor, said Evans has been the driving force behind the new facility that is currently in construction. He expects it to open by the end of the summer.

He continued by saying “she has been really good to the children in the neighborhood.”

The former school teacher also tutors students who have difficulty with mathematics. She prefers to teach them how to do problems long hand without the use of calculators because she believes “math is a building subject, so you need a strong foundation.”

‘I count on her…’

Evans often lends a helping hand when neighbors need to go to the doctors, are in the hospital or in nursing homes.

“I go to nursing homes so much that they know me when I walk in,” said Evans.

NewsWorks was tipped off about the good work Evans does for the community last month at a NewsWorks‘ community event from Elayne Bender, East Mount Airy Neighbors’ executive director.

She said that Evans is an extremely honest woman who has not been slowed down by her age and always offers to help out at various events in the community.

“I count on her as a founding board member if there is a decision I have to make, because of her experience with the organization and neighborhood as well as wisdom from her life experiences,” said Bender.

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