2021 School Service Hours Program

DUE DATE: FRIDAY, April 30, 2021 at 2:00 PM EST


This is a project for students attending Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland to earn service hours for the 2020/2021 school year.  




↑ Click to download a copy of this flyer. ↑

Guidelines about the Service Learning Hours Opportunity

  • WHO MAY PARTICIPATE:  Students attending Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland ONLY may donate non-perishable food, personal care items, cards and letters.  Due to the size and scope of this opportunity, we are unable to accommodate schools outside of Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland for this project.

  • WHERE - Although students attending all schools in the CCPS system may participate, Westminster High School is the ONLY drop off location, no matter which school your student attends.  All donations of nonperishable food and personal care items should be dropped off at Westminster High School in Westminster, MD at the Visitor's Center.  Cards and letters may be dropped off at Westminster High School or emailed.

  • WHEN - The project is open from March 1, 2021 and concludes at 2 PM EST on Friday, April 30, 2021.  Items must be dropped off during open school hours from 7:25 AM until 2:25 PM.

  • THE "HOW TO" PROCESS FOR DONATING NONPERISHABLE FOOD AND PERSONAL CARE ITEMS - Drop off nonperishable food and/or personal care items at Westminster High School ONLY, no matter which school your student attends.  Please ATTACH A NOTE with the student's name, school name, their grade and an itemized list of items given.  Otherwise, we have no way of knowing who donated and your student will not receive credit for their service hours.  

  • THE "HOW TO" PROCESS FOR CARDS AND LETTERS - Make cards and/or letters.  Cards and letters may be dropped off at Westminster High School (no matter which school your student attends) or emailed to:  president.md3@bluestarmothers.us  When dropping off, please make sure the batch is held together in a sealed Ziploc bag or held together with a heavy binder clip.   The batch of cards and/or letters should also include the student's name, school name, their grade and number of cards and/or letters they made.  When emailing us, please be aware that the email address you use should NOT be a CCPS email account.  CCPS has a firewall which blocks our emails, therefore please email all cards and letters from an ALTERNATE PERSONAL or WORK email account.   When emailing cards and letters, you should also include the student's name, school name, their grade and number of cards and/or letters they made. 

  • WHAT ITEMS MAY BE DONATED:  For a list of ideas, click here to go to our Ideas for Care Packages tab.

  • REQUIREMENT - All students must complete an Online Service Learning Hours form found at https://ext.carrollk12.org/SLHExt/ On the Online Service Hours form, please use:  Chesapeake Blue Star Mothers Chapter, Christeanna Levesque, phone 443-590-9619.  Please DO NOT CALL this phone number with questions.  Many questions have answers listed below.  If you have any questions not already answered about this process, please send your question via email to:  president.md3@bluestarmothers.us.  

Frequently Asked Q&A about the Service Learning Hours Opportunity

  • How should items be purchased?  Where it is possible, students are encouraged to do household chores, lawn care, gardening or other suitable tasks in order to earn their own money to pay for the purchases.  They are encouraged to shop on their own, either in a store or online, with parental guidance.  This encourages having your student spend the actual time to earn the service hours while working to give back to those who serve.
  • May I order items through Amazon?   Yes, you may use our wish list for ideas, however please do NOT have the order shipped directly to America's Warriors Care Package Projects.  In order for your student to receive credit for service hours, you MUST follow the process above.  Items must be dropped off at Westminster High School.  Please ATTACH A NOTE with the student's name, the school name, their grade and an itemized list of items given.
  • May I shop online and ship items to you?   You may go to the store or shop online, however please do NOT have the order shipped directly to America's Warriors Care Package Projects or to Westminster High School.  In order for us to track the service hours, your student MUST follow the process above.  Items must be dropped off at Westminster High School with AN ATTACHED NOTE with the student's name, the school name, their grade and an itemized list of items given.
  • Is there a special way I should prepare the items which I donate?  Please put personal care items in a separate bag from food.  Things like shampoo, Tide pods, sauces can leak.  Also, anything with a scent like deodorant or soap can make food smell like deodorant or soap.  Therefore, please put scented items into separate bags.  Please put liquids like shampoo, conditioner, body wash into individual Ziploc bags to prevent any leaking onto other donations.  Please put fragranced items like soap or deodorant into Ziploc bags to prevent all items being donated from picking up the scent.  Put the individually bagged items into separate drop-off bags.  In each drop-off bag, be sure to add your student's name and write, "Bag 1 of 2." "Bag 2 of 2," etc
  • May my student drop off donations at their school if they do not attend Westminster High School?  No, not for this project.  In order to avoid having the Chesapeake Blue Star Moms driving to all schools in the county, we have made arrangements to pick up from ONE central location only and that is Westminster High School at the Visitor's Center.  Westminster High School is expecting the drop offs.  Other schools in the county are not expecting drop offs and we will NOT be picking up from any location other than Westminster High School for this project.
  • May my student drop off donations at one of your Community Drop Box locations around town?  No, not for this project, please.  The businesses around town which have one of our Community Drop Boxes are NOT involved with or responsible for this service learning hours opportunity.  In order for us to track your student's service hours, your student MUST follow the process above.  Items must be dropped off at Westminster High School ONLY with AN ATTACHED NOTE with the student's name, the school name, their grade and an itemized list of items given.  Items dropped off at alternate locations will not receive credit for service hours due to not following the clearly stated guidelines.
  • What if my student does not include the note with their name, the school name, their grade and an itemized list of items given?  Unfortunately, if your student does not follow the process, we will not be spending the time to investigate donations which were dropped  off without the appropriate note as stated.  As a result, they will not receive credit for service hours due to not following the clearly stated guidelines.
  • Will the bags, boxes or tubs I use to drop off donations be returned to me?  Due to the size and scope of this project, we will not be tracking down parents or students in order to return bags, boxes or tubs.  Therefore, please use bags, boxes or tubs that you will not want back.  
  • What is the deadline?  Please observe our due date.  The deadline is Friday, April 30, 2021 by 2:00 PM EST.  Anything dropped after 2:00 PM on Friday, April 30, 2021 will be late and will not be counted for the service hours.
  • Should my student sign the cards?  Signatures are a personal choice.  Your student may sign it with their first name only, both names, first name and first initial, or no name at all.  They may also want to add what school they attend.  Example: "Kelly Jones, a senior at Westminster High School." 
  • Will my student have a service member as a pen pal?  No, it is not appropriate.
  • Will my student write to a service member addressing a service member by their name?  No.  We plan to send many cards which will be shared by many service members within various units.  Your student will not assume a "Pen Pal" type of relationship with a specific service member.  Personal names of service members are not to be used. 
  • What type of things should my student write?  Your student may address some cards thanking specific branches of service.  We will be sending to ALL branches of service, therefore it would be appropriate to say, "Thank you, Marine, for all that you do," and "Thank you, Sailor, for serving our country," and "Stay safe over there, Soldier."  Keep in mind that only the Army has Soldiers.  The other branches of service do NOT refer to themselves as "Soldiers."  The Navy has Sailors, the Air Force has Airmen and Air Women and the Marine Corps has Marines.  Your student could make a card for each branch of service for a nice variety.
  • Should I put my home address on the letters, cards or donated items?  No.  Please do not put any addresses on anything which you donate.   Your student will not assume a "Pen Pal" type of relationship with a service member. 
  • May I mail the cards, letters or care packages myself?  No.  Addresses of our service members are not shared due to OPSEC and PERSEC.  Our team will ship all of the care packages.  
  • Should I put a date on the letters or cards?  We expect to have a large number of cards and letters which we will use throughout the year, therefore do not put any dates on them.
  • Should I make cards or letters for a special occasion?  No.  There is no need to make special occasion cards as we will use them throughout the year,
  • Is there a particular format that must be used for cards and letters which are emailed?  Acceptable formats are MS Word, PDF files, and photos in JPG format.  We are unable to print cards with flashing pictures.  Please also do not use GIF format.  All cards and letters which are emailed should be "Ready to Print."  Please do not send links to websites for us to download apps in order to retrieve your cards and letters.
  • Is there a preferred card style?  Cards with artwork may be on a single sheet of paper like a flyer or they may be folded in half like a greeting card.  Cards with mostly words and little artwork should be designed to be a bifold to make them look nice.  They should be made to be folded in half, just as a store bought greeting card folds in half.  Envelopes are not necessary, however.
  • Is there a preferred letter style? It is preferred that letters are typed rather than handwritten in order to be read easily, however a handwritten signature at the end is a nice personal touch.  If your student wishes to write a letter by hand, it must be legible.  Letters which are not legible will not count.
  • Is there a preferred website to make cards?  We recommend Greetings Island.  Click here to visit their website:  https://www.greetingsisland.com/  Students should be using a website to make cards rather than an app.  Please do not send us links for us to download apps to retrieve your cards.  Cards should be "Ready to Print."
  • Do the cards have to be made using a card making website?  No, they do not.  They may be handmade, however they must be legible.  Cards which are not legible will not count.  Please feel free to design handmade cards with artwork, calligraphy and/or free hand lettering.  We are excited to see the student's creativity come out for this project!
  • When making cards and letters to be dropped off, should I use a specific type of paper?  No, you do not need to use a specific type of paper.  If you wish to use card stock, construction paper or regular printer paper for hand made cards, go right ahead.  For letters, if you wish to use fancy parchment paper, patriotic stationery or plain printer paper, go right ahead.  As long as the cards and letters look nice, any type of paper will do.  We look forward to seeing the creativity.
  • Are there any special tools I should use to make my cards or letters?  Tools you may use to decorate your cards include: scrapbooking materials, rubber stamps, stickers, fancy scissors to cut the edges, calligraphy pens, markers, ribbons, card stock, etc.  The sky is the limit.  Be creative and use your imagination!
  • How do you quantify donations for the care packages?  We count items by the number of PACKAGES, not by the number of items contained within a package.  For example, if you donate one package of 6 rolls of toilet paper, that would count that as ONE donation, not 6 donations.  That would give you a half hour (30 minutes).  If you buy one bag containing 24 individual serving size bags of potato chips, that would count that as ONE donation, not 24 donations.  That would give you a half hour (30 minutes).  If you donate one package of 300 Q-tips, that would count that as ONE donation, not 300 donations.  That would give you a half hour (30 minutes).  
  • Do you accept monetary donations?  We are unable to give service hours for monetary donations, as the purpose of this project is to get your student "hands-on involved" in making cards and letters or going to the store to shop for a service member.  However, should your student wish to donate to help with shipping costs, monetary donations are always welcome as postage expenses are very high.  Checks should be made out to A.W. Care Package Projects.  Donations may also be made on our website.  Click here to make a donation.
  • Do you accept used items?  No, we do not.  All items must be NEW and in their original unopened packaging.  The ONLY exception we will accept is CLEAN Keurig coffee makers in excellent working condition.  Although clean, used Keurig coffee makes will be accepted as a donation, it will NOT be counted for service hours as it is not something which would be purchased by your student and therefore, not part of service hours that a student would be actually working on this project.  The Keurig may be dropped off with the other items at Westminster High School through April 30, 2021 while the student service hours project is underway or it may be dropped off at one of our Community Drop box locations at any time. 
  • What Activity Type should be selected on the Online Learning Service Hours website?  Please choose Indirect.
  • Will my student make the boxes and pack the care packages?  No.  Our team will put together the care packages.  Your student may donate items to be put into the care packages, however we will pick up the donated items and put together the care packages.
  • Do you need volunteers to help with the packing?  No, we do not need assistance with packing.  Although we do appreciate the offer, due to social distancing our team will do all of the packing,
  • Do you accept homemade food?  No, we do not.  All food donations must be store bought and in their original, unopened packaging. 
  • Do you accept food outside of the original packaging?  No, we do not.  Store packaging must be intact due to safety protocols.  Please do not donate open boxes of food.  That means that items such as granola bars, Rice Krispies treats, Pop-Tarts, etc. should be in their unopened, factory sealed boxes.  Please do not donate loose food items outside of their original box.  Please do not donate boxes of food which have been opened.  Loose food and food in open packaging cannot be sent to our deployed military, therefore it will not be accepted or count for service hours.  
  • Do you still accept Halloween candy?  Halloween candy will be accepted as a donation, however it will NOT be counted for service hours as it is "leftovers" and therefore, not part of service hours that a student would be actually working on this project.  As with our guidelines on food, all candy must be in the original, unopened packaging.  Please do not donate loose candy outside of the original unopened bags.  Halloween candy may be dropped off with the other items at Westminster High School through April 30, 2021 while the student service hours project is underway or it may be dropped off at one of our Community Drop box locations at any time.  Please click this tab for more information about the Halloween candy.
  • Do you accept hotel toiletries? Hotel toiletries will be accepted as a donation, however it will NOT be counted for service hours as it is not something which would be purchased by your student and therefore, not part of service hours that a student would be actually working on this project.  As with our guidelines on  donated items, the hotel toiletries must be in the original, unopened packaging.  Please do not donate partially used hotel toiletries.  Hotel toiletries may be dropped off with the other items at Westminster High School through April 30, 2021 while the student service hours project is underway or it may be dropped off at one of our Community Drop box locations at any time. 
  • Do you accept cards and letters written in languages other than English?  No, we do not.  All cards are vetted and read for appropriateness, therefore our readers need the cards and letters to be written in English in order to be understood.  
  • Should we put the cards and letters in envelopes?  No, it is actually preferred that envelopes are not used.  If they are used, please do not seal them as we will open them up to read the cards and letters.
  • May other schools outside of Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland participate?  In order to efficiently manage this project, we are unable to open this up to other school systems.  We thank you for understanding, however we must limit this to the public schools in our area.
  • Is there a limit to the amount of donations?  No, there is no limit, however if you have an unusually large amount of donations, please contact us.  We may need you to make special arrangements for a large drop off.  Please send your inquiry email to:  president.md3@bluestarmothers.us 
  • Will you have this opportunity in the future?  At this time, we are only planning for the 2020/2021 school year as many students have had difficulty reaching their service hours requirement due to the pandemic.   We will advise you should we decide to offer this opportunity in the future.

We hope that this information is helpful.  Should you have any additional questions , please click here for more information about the Service Learning Hours Opportunity.



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