In what has become part of a tradition of more than 15 years, The Shepherd's Staff in Westminster has begun collecting Easter basket donations for distribution to families in need this spring.

"Families in need in Carroll County can come in and register [for an Easter basket] the day you pick it up," said Brenda Meadows, Shepherd's Staff executive director.


"There are many working families out there doing everything they can to make ends meet and something special like an Easter basket takes a good bit of money," Meadows said. "They need to utilize that money for gas to get back and forth to their job. It's something we can do to help the parents boost their children's spirits."

To lift those spirits in spring requires generosity now: The Shepherd's Staff is requesting donations of Easter baskets, both filled and unfilled, between now and March 20 to help meet the need in the community, a need that Meadows said she believes may have increased since last year, based on the number of Christmas stockings The Shepherd's Staff delivered to needy families in December.

"It was about 1,250 baskets last year," she said. "If Christmas is any indication, we will need about 1,700 baskets this year."

Although candy items are not categorically prohibited, Meadows said noncandy items are preferred — things like bubbles and Play-Doh for younger children and personal care items like nail polish or lotion for teens and preteens — and especially items that reflect the spiritual nature of Easter such as crosses, prayer or Christian storybooks.

Donations can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, and between 3 and 7 p.m. on Thursdays at The Shepherd's Staff's location at 30 Carroll St. in Westminster. The office is closed Wednesdays.

Meadows said there is some flexibility for those who cannot stop by during business hours.

"If they have a problem with our regular operating hours, they can feel free to give us a call and we can work out a time that works for both of us," she said.

Reach staff writer Jon Kelvey at 410-857-3317 or jon.kelvey@carrollcountytimes.com.

More information

What: The Shepherd's Staff Easter basket donations

When: Donations accepted 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays; 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursdays until March 20

Where: The Shepherd's Staff, 30 Carroll St., Westminster

Call: The Shepherd's Staff at 410-857-5944