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Our View: Importance of Carroll County’s volunteers shown over past week

We know there’s a lot of bad news out there. Stories about fires, accidents and crime are all too-familiar components of our website and front page. We also try to publicize those in the community who help make Carroll County a better place. We’ve run three stories in the past week or so illustrating the actions of just a few of this county’s many volunteers.

The Downtown Sykesville Connection presented certificates at the Town Council’s Jan. 13 meeting to some of its volunteers and to a local Girl Scout troop that helped with the maintenance of the town’s parklet — a “pop-up” lounge area with benches and plants installed at the intersection of Main Street and Sandosky Road.

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Farmers market volunteers Mason Harrison, Eddie Watson, and Nathan Godfrey and Kiera St. Pierre were recognized. “Mason, Nathan, Eddie, and Kiera showed up on multiple weekends early in the morning to help set up and they were there in 90-plus degree weather sweeping, breaking down the bounce house, tents, and tables. They came with a positive attitude and were always willing to help with anything that was asked of them," Beth Currence, Sykesville Farmers Market manager, said. "We couldn’t have a market without volunteers.”

Executive Director Julie Della-Maria then awarded Girl Scout Junior Troop 1020 a certificate and a gift card for volunteering with the Green Committee of the Downtown Sykesville Connection and helping with planters from the time the parklet opened in August. “Someone had to plant the planters and the summer was extremely hot, so someone had to water that," Della-Maria said. "Those little girls did a fabulous job.”

The Roaring Run Lions Club teamed with Weis Markets in Westminster on a food drive that raised the biggest donation on record for Westminster High School’s food pantry. More than $6,400 worth of food and more than $700 in monetary donations were delivered to the high school Sunday, when a number of Lions Club members used trucks and SUVs to transport the food from Weis to the Owl Pantry.

“The community just really stepped up, and so did Weis,” Ginger Turnbull, the Roaring Run Lions Club member who organized the drive, told us. She said the grocery store’s manager, Andrew Raimondo, and assistant manager, Mike Finneran, had strategies to encourage customers to donate, like a pre-selected bag of food that customers could purchase for $10 and competitions between cashiers to see who could collect the most donations.

Turnbull said she cried when she got a call from Raimondo telling her how successful the drive had been. “All I could think about was that people are going to have food to eat,” she said.

The pantry is open Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Some of the food from the pantry also goes to families who are part of the Together We Own It program, which provides support and mentoring for children. Donations can be made to the Owl Pantry by calling 410-751-3630.

On Monday, in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, about 25 McDaniel College students in town for the school’s January term, honored King by participating in a day of service in Westminster. They weren’t earning credit hours, Katie Trembley, community engagement liaison for McDaniel, told us, “They’re all here because it’s important to them.”

At Union Street Methodist Church, students and trustees of the church teamed up to put a fresh coat of paint in the upstairs multipurpose room of the church, which celebrated its 150th birthday just a few years prior. Walter “Pete” Groomes, a trustee of the church, said it was a blessing to have the students to help with the painting.

Downstairs in the church, students wrapped packs of diapers for CarrollBaby, an organization that distributes diapers and hygiene items. The students wrapped 2,000 diapers, which will provide for about 50 families, Director Lauren Bukszar told us.

Others filled plastic eggs with candy for the city of Westminster’s annual egg hunt for kids in the community. One group of students joined the soup kitchen of Westminster United Methodist Church on East Main Street for the morning. Another set to cleaning and assisting the Human Services Programs at their Cold Weather Shelter.

Truly, Carroll couldn’t be the place it is without volunteers.

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