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‘The teachers association is part of the community’: Educators donate to Carroll County Food Sunday

Retired teachers were unloading their cars with boxes of Great Value peanut butter and Log Cabin syrup outside of the Carroll County Food Sunday building Thursday.

The Carroll County Education Association collected and donated 706 pounds of food for the food pantry that included syrup, peanut butter, canned good, jelly and pancake mix as a way to give back to the community they say they are also a part of.

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As the teachers unloaded their cars with boxes of food, workers with the food pantry brought out dollies to wheel them inside. Caroline Babylon, executive director of Carroll County Food Sunday, or CCFS, said a group who dropped off food collected by the schools in Manchester and Hampstead brought in 181 pounds of cereal.

Carroll County Food Sunday Executive Director Caroline Babylon brings in food items donated by the Carroll County Education Association in Westminster Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.
Carroll County Food Sunday Executive Director Caroline Babylon brings in food items donated by the Carroll County Education Association in Westminster Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

CCFS is a nonprofit organization located on Distillery Drive in Westminster with a mission to provide emergency supplemental food weekly. Anyone who needs food assistance and lives in Carroll County is eligible to receive food.

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Celeste Jordan, part of the education association’s executive board and public relations committee, arrived to help with the unloading of the second round of drop-offs.

She was the organizer of Thursday’s event but noted that one of the members, Gary Foote, a teacher at South Carroll High School, started donating to the pantry a few years ago. They wanted to broaden their efforts by getting all the schools involved, but the pandemic hit. They tried rescheduling in September and December, but they were learning virtually at the time. The food drive was scheduled for Feb. 18 but it snowed and postponed a week later.

Jordan, a math teacher at Winters Mill High School, said she looked at CCFS’s wish list online to see what items they needed before assigning which schools should provide them. Some items went to more than one school. Her school was assigned jelly.

The Carroll County Education Association dropped off hundreds of pounds of food donations to Carroll County Food Sunday in Westminster Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.
The Carroll County Education Association dropped off hundreds of pounds of food donations to Carroll County Food Sunday in Westminster Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

She said she used to work at Winters Mill’s food pantry but since the pandemic they have not been able to let the public use it.

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Food was dropped off in the afternoon by the retired teachers committee while many of the other teachers were at work. She said it’s a way to give back to the community.

“The point is to show that the teachers association is part of the community,” she said, adding they did not only want to be seen at budget meetings.

Jordan added that she knows there’s people “giving us grief” but many have been supportive.

“We’re part of the community. We just want to help out in the community,” she said. “This is our home.”

Nathan Curtis, left, and Tom Scanlan help drop off donations of food at Carroll County Food Sunday on behalf of the Carroll County Education Association in Westminster Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.
Nathan Curtis, left, and Tom Scanlan help drop off donations of food at Carroll County Food Sunday on behalf of the Carroll County Education Association in Westminster Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

The day before the food donation, Carroll’s board of education voted to submit a plan to the state that would allow students to have full-time in-person learning.

“I’ll be honest, I did not watch it,” Jordan said, adding that when she does watch school board meetings, it stresses her out. “I figured they would tell me the results the next day.”

She said she wants kids to be 6 feet apart. The new return plan states keeping that distance will not always be guaranteed.

“There’s still a lot of details that need to be made,” Teresa McCulloh, president of CCEA, said about the plan.

The Carroll County Education Association dropped off hundreds of pounds of food donations to Carroll County Food Sunday in Westminster Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.
The Carroll County Education Association dropped off hundreds of pounds of food donations to Carroll County Food Sunday in Westminster Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

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