The Shepherd’s Staff’s back-to-school program started 25 years ago with the hopes of providing local children in need with school supplies.

This year their program served nearly 1,300 children in Carroll County and provided them with new school supplies, backpacks, clothing, shoe vouchers, haircuts, and new books. For many students, these items gave them a fresh start to the school year.


Students were able to sign up for the back-to-school program throughout the summer and distribution was available until late August.

“We are busy the entire month of August packing and distributing school supplies. This year, we were fortunate to be able to serve all of the families that requested supplies, even throughout the first week of school,” Karen Rau, project coordinator at The Shepherd’s Staff, said.

The back-to-school program distribution kicked off on Aug. 9 at the third annual Shop with a Cop event at Dutterer Family Park in Westminster. Staff and volunteers of the Westminster Police Department, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and The Shepherd’s Staff hosted a group of approximately 150 local students who were paired with a police officer to “shop” for school supplies for the coming school year.

Besides school supplies, The Shepherd’s Staff also worked with partners in the community to provide students with new or nearly new clothing, haircuts, and new books. The Westminster Rescue Mission provided a space for The Shepherd’s Staff’s clothing distribution for the second year in a row.

This year is the ninth annual Shop With a Cop back-to-school event for the Westminster Police Department, Chief Jeff Spaulding said.

Every student in the Back-to-School Program was given a clothing voucher that allowed them to go to the Westminster Rescue Mission to choose three or four outfits and brand-new underwear and socks. Haircuts for students were provided by stylists from The Spa on West Main and Aaron Roberts Salon at The Shepherd’s Staff and the Shop with a Cop event. New books were also given to students by Penguin Random House, who provided 1,200 books for the program.

“What is unique about our Back-to-School program is that we work with local organizations, businesses, churches, and individuals to make our program possible,” said Brenda Meadows, executive director of The Shepherd’s Staff. “Families were able to sign up and pick up school supplies at our office or any of our 10 off-site locations throughout Carroll County. We also had 28 local businesses that had donation drop off bins for those looking to donate supplies. This program is a community effort and we are thankful to have so many organizations and businesses partner with us.”

The Shepherd’s Staff expressed thanks to all the organizations, businesses, churches, and individuals that supported their back-to-school program. Off-site sign up and pick up locations included: Boys & Girls Club (Westminster), Feed My Sheep (Sykesville)- Mount Airy Net (Mount Airy), Mount Zion United Methodist Church (Finksburg), Rinehart Parking Lot (Union Bridge), Saint Joseph Catholic Community (Eldersburg), Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church (New Windsor), South Carroll Food Pantry (Sykesville), Taneytown Branch Library (Taneytown)- Taneytown Senior and Community Center (Taneytown). Off-site donation drop off locations included: 140 Mini Storage (Finksburg), Baugher’s Restaurant & Fruit Market (Westminster), BB&T (Eldersburg and Westminster), Carroll Community Bank (Sykesville and Westminster), D.R. Horton, Inc., Stonegate Community (Westminster), Edward Jones Investment (Westminster), Elite Tents and Events (Eldersburg), Farmers & Merchants Bank (Upperco and Westminster), NWSB Bank (College Square, Eldersburg, Hampstead, Mount Airy, New Windsor, Taneytown, and Westminster), Old Line Bank (Westminster), Terry’s Tag and Title (Eldersburg, Taneytown, Union Bridge, and Westminster), Thrive Fitness and Wellness Studio (Westminster), Ting (Westminster), Top Nosh (Westminster), TownMall (Westminster).

For more information or to be a part of The Shepherd’s Staff’s 2019 back-to-school program, email info@shepstaff.org or call 410-857-5944.