The staff at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building of Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) recently showcased their commitment to community service through their annual Thanksgiving food drive. The drive, benefiting LifeStyles of Maryland Inc. and CCPS Community Schools, culminated with the collection of a significant amount of donations, a testament to the staff’s dedication to supporting those in need.

Sandy Washington, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of LifeStyles, expressed profound appreciation towards CCPS staff for their efforts. “When I see you do this — which is outside of the realm of what you do every day — it just means you recognize the importance of what you’re doing for families,” she remarked. Her words reflect the strong bond and mutual respect between LifeStyles and CCPS, an alliance that has been beneficial to the Charles County community.

The drive, which ran from November 2 to 16, saw various departments within Starkey form teams to collect monetary donations and shelf-stable food items. This year’s event was remarkably successful, amassing a total of 10,352 food and monetary donations. The ‘Wooble Gooble Team’ from the Office of Teaching and Learning led the charge, donating a staggering 4,824 items, while ‘Human Resources Helping Hands’ and ‘Secondary Instruction’s Moss Potatoes’ secured second and third places with 2,673 and 1,150 items, respectively.

Bethany Goodwin, CCPS youth in transition and foster care coordinator, highlighted the seven-year tradition of the Starkey staff organizing the Thanksgiving food drive. She noted the long-standing relationship between LifeStyles and CCPS, which dates back to the foundation of LifeStyles in 1998. This partnership has extended to various initiatives, including the Summer Meals program that has been providing meals to children for over a decade.

About three-fourths of the Thanksgiving donations are earmarked for LifeStyles, a community organization focused on providing essential services such as rent assistance, food, clothing, job search aid, and transportation. The remainder will bolster the CCPS Community Schools program, which bridges the gap between schools, students, families, and community resources. This program encompasses a range of services, including health and mental health services, academic enrichment, and adult education classes.

The drive not only highlighted the generosity of the CCPS staff but also underscored the teamwork and leadership skills within the organization. Teams like the Wooble Gooble, led by Stephanie Lawson, and the Helping Hands, headed by Michelle Ezzell, showcased the collaborative spirit of the staff. Other notable contributions came from teams like Hunger’s Heroes, Team Techsgiving, and those led by figures such as Deepa Patel and Amanda Kline, each making significant contributions to the drive’s overall success.

This event is a shining example of how the CCPS staff extend their roles beyond education, actively engaging in initiatives that have a direct and positive impact on their community. Their efforts not only provide immediate assistance to those in need but also strengthen the bond between the school system and the community it serves. For more information on the Community Schools program, visit

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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