Success Stories

Message to the Student Support Network from the Principal of Halstead Academy, September 2020

Dear Student Support Network,

Words can’t begin to describe the excitement and curiosity on students’ faces as they came to Halstead to pick up their learning bags and saw the bright colored and sparkly personal lap desks. We are incredibly thankful for your generous donation of 250 lap desks for our students. The lap desks will provide students with their own personal, mobile learning space. A device is a necessity in the delivery of remote learning, but the learning supplies and the tools to create a space conducive for learning are equally important. Students were thrilled to learn that they would be able to take their own lap desk home to help them be successful. We are thankful for our partnership with you and for your commitment to support our community. Thank you for helping to make our supply distribution a success!

All the best,

The Halstead Family

Covid-19: Week 19 of Food Distributions, July 24, 2020

Food, grocery cards, and essential products were distributed at our three sites — Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and Loch Raven Academy:

Parkville High School: 310 cars, 5 walk-ups, 24 deliveries

Owings Mills High School: 167 cars, 5 deliveries

Loch Raven Academy: 147 cars, 1 walk-up, 12 deliveries

Over $65,000 of food and non-food products was distributed; the food represented almost  49,000 meal equivalents.

Covid-19: Week 18 of Food Distributions, July 17, 2020

Food, grocery cards, and essential products were distributed at our three sites — Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and Loch Raven Academy:

Parkville High School: 181 cars, 7 walk-ups, 16 deliveries

Owings Mills High School: 158 cars, 7 deliveries

Loch Raven Academy: 143 cars

Over $56,000 of food and non-food products was distributed; the food represented almost  41,000 meal equivalents.

Many thanks to Glyndon United Methodist Church for the generous donations of their congregation to our students and families going to the site at Owings Mills High School!

Another big thank-you to four of our younger volunteers:

  • Nick, for his hard work in thinking about, shopping for, and assembling 25 fun bags for younger children – and also for keeping the donations coming from Elite Spice – both precious life-enhancers for families in crisis. This is the second time Nick and his equally wonderful mom Tracy have worked on kits for children.
  • Abby, for her hard work in supplying thousands of packs of period products every week to our sites – also supported by another amazing mom, Phoebe. The Girl Scouts are nominating Abby for the Maryland Commission for Women Covid Shero Award!
  • Piper, who recently turned 8 and for her birthday told her parents that she didn’t want more “stuff” — she wanted to help her community. Donations poured in to help make her birthday wish come true.
  • Natalie, who, for her Girl Scout Silver Award project, is collecting diapers, wipes, baby shampoo and other baby supplies for the Student Support Network. She will distribute these every week to the approximately 140 cars that come to Loch Raven Technical Academy for help

And a final thank you to State Delegate Harry Bhandari for volunteering today at our distribution site at Parkville High School, and to Dr. Michele Guyton, MD State House of Delegates District 42B who was back volunteering again!

Covid-19: Week 17 of Food Distributions, July 10, 2020

Food, grocery cards, and essential products were distributed at our three sites — Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and Loch Raven Academy:

Parkville High School: 301 cars, 4 walk-ups, 13 deliveries

Owings Mills High School: 140 cars, 1 walk-up, 2 deliveries

Loch Raven Academy: 132 cars, 1 walk-ups, 9 deliveries

Over $50,000 of food and non-food products was distributed; the food represented over 40,000 meal equivalents.

We are forever grateful for the major continuing donations from Baltimore County Government made possible by our County Executive John Olszewski Jr., bread through arrangements with the Maryland Hunger Project, Abby Letocha’s period product packs (over 2,000 so far), thousands of diapers weekly from anonymous donors, and the donations appearing on porches and in front of garages every week.


This week two donors made up 100 “fun bags” – 50 for younger children and 50 for older students.

At Loch Raven Technical Academy in Towson, thanks to Baltimore County Government, we had dozens of eggs today.  Cathi Forbes celebrated with Jesse Albright of Albright Farms, who delivered them.  All of our sites had eggs today!

And we had thousands of diapers – for Parkville High School and Owings Mills High School as well!

There was a much appreciated post from Dr. Michele Guyton, MD State House of Delegates District 42B – her first time volunteering at our distribution at Parkville High School:

“I had the gift of a wonderfully positive day today thanks to Student Support Network at Parkville High School. Yara Chiekh ran an efficient team of delightful volunteers. Thanks to Baltimore County Executive Johnny O’s Office, ( which distributes over 110 TONS of food each WEEK to families in the County) we gave out produce, bread, eggs, and basic groceries to feed about 1000 people in a few hours! Other businesses and private donors provided diapers, “period packs” snack bags and pet food to some really grateful recipients. This was the highlight of my week and reinforced my strong belief that the people of 42B are generous and have beautifully kind spirits. Laurie Taylor-Mitchell has made the Student Support Network a driving force in the fight against poverty and food insecurity in Baltimore County for years, but it has never been more needed than NOW! I cannot wait to do it again!Please note that 42B’s very own Albright Farms provided the eggs! Families were so happy to receive them!!!!”

Covid-19: Week 16 of Food Distributions, July 3, 2020

Food, grocery cards, and essential products were distributed at our three sites — Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and Loch Raven Academy:

Parkville High School: 268 cars, 7 walk-ups, 12 deliveries

Owings Mills High School: 138 cars, 2 walk-ups, 2 deliveries

Loch Raven Academy: 131 cars, 2 walk-ups, 9 deliveries

Over $49,000 of food and non-food products was distributed; the food represented almost 40,000 meal equivalents.

Many thanks to Cathi Forbes and all of the other volunteers today at Loch Raven Technical – distributing food, produce and essential items – and to Chris McCollum for his truck-driving skills to bring us extra produce and eggs today!

From Delegate Cathi Forbes

HUNGER DOESN’T TAKE A HOLIDAY. Thank you to all the wonderful Student Support Network volunteers helping me distribute food today at Loch Raven Technical Academy.

I love to watch the front of this school transform in a matter of hours from an empty driveway to a vital resource for our community.

We’re serving hundreds of families here every Friday, thanks to the generosity of our neighbors, as well as County Executive Johnny Olszewski and his team.

Great to see Delegate Dana Stein volunteering with Vicki Almond at the Owings Mills High School distribution as he has done several times – thank you!

From Delegate Dana Stein (who was with Vicki Almond and Jonathan Schwartz):

Glad to join Vicki Almond and her dedicated group of volunteers today at Owings Mills High School. As part of the Student Support Network, Vicki and Bob Frank lead weekly efforts that distribute food and supplies to families in Northwest Baltimore County. Today, the group distributed food to hundreds of families, representing more than 1,000 individuals!

Covid-19: Week 15 of Food Distributions, June 26, 2020

Food, grocery cards, and essential products were distributed at our three sites — Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and Loch Raven Academy:

Parkville High School: 269 cars, 5 walk-ups, 21 deliveries

Owings Mills High School: 146 cars, 5 deliveries

Loch Raven Academy: 125 cars, 2 walk-ups, 10 deliveries

Almost $45,000 of food and non-food products was distributed; the food represented over 32,000 meal equivalents.

Non-food items include paper products, period products, diapers, personal care items, and household items.


Special thanks to Jacob Schleupner of Elite Spice for donating150 large bags of seasonings for our distributions – they were a great addition to our groceries!

Expressions Of Gratitude, June 2020

The message below was sent to the Network from Caryn Putchat, the social worker at Loch Raven High School – Caryn has always been wonderful about passing on messages of gratitude from students and their families.

“I could not let this school year close without sending you thanks for all you have done for our families. While Loch Raven High School students have benefited from the Loch Raven Network for 5 years, the support this year has been unprecedented, right in keeping with the unprecedented circumstances. It started with your rallying to provide families with grocery gift cards and extended access to the Loch Raven Haven on 3/13 and has extended since to biweekly grocery gift card mailings to families; this is all in addition to the amazing food and household item distributions happening at nearby schools every Friday.

I am in awe of everything the Network is doing. The families have been so grateful for your support and it has lessened the economic burdens that the pandemic has exacerbated. I am including some words of thanks that I received on your behalf below:

“It would absolutely be a blessing to keep getting them.”

“Yourself and so many others have been doing so much for so many families in need, it’s so worth it to me….. acknowledging the good, with all that is going on across the Country. It is necessary to acknowledge the good that so many people are doing as well.”

“I know a lot of people are going through tough times, and LRHS community, staff, and faculty has been doing such a magnificent job helping the families and the community to get the assistance that everyone needs. So, thank you so much.”

“Thank you very much for all the help.”

“This is helping out my family and I very much. Thank you!”

Thanks so much for all you do! Please share these thanks with the other volunteers.”


Covid-19: Week 14 of Food Distributions, June 19, 2020

Food, grocery cards, and essential products were distributed at our three sites — Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and Loch Raven Academy:

Parkville High School: 269 cars, 10 deliveries

Owings Mills High School: 153 cars, 12 deliveries

Loch Raven Academy: 118 cars, 6 walk-ups, 10 deliveries

Over $57,000 of food and non-food products was distributed; the food represented almost 36,000 meal equivalents.

From Vicki Almond, who coordinates the Network food distribution on Fridays at Owings Mills High School:

“On behalf of the Student Support Network, I want to thank Owings Mills Dentistry for their generous contribution of gloves, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other personal items. We gave them out at our food drive at Owings Mills High School. Thank you!”


A big thank-you to the players and families of Baltimore Union Boys 2006 Select soccer team, who generously donated these items for our food distributions

Gratitude For What Our Donors And Volunteers Help Us Do, June 2020

This is a recent message from a teacher after receiving support for a family in dire need this spring – the Campfield Early Learning Center has participated in our Spring and Fall Drives.

“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude for the assistance the Student Support Network provided for my student and her family.  The passing of her father presented so many uncertainties and challenges that proved overwhelming for this family. With your help they were able to work through some of those hardships and for this they send their thanks.

Your kindness and willingness to help this family in need was appreciated not only by her family, but also by the entire Campfield Early Learning Center Family.

Please pass along our thanks to those that work alongside you and help you with meeting the needs of so many.

You are greatly Appreciated!!”

Congratulations To Parkville High Graduate, Isa Hambrick! June 14, 2020

More great accomplishments – achieved by a student helped by the Network.  Some of you may remember our post last year about this wonderful young man who attended Parkville High School – he had no transportation to get to work.

“Isa is the young man for whom [the Network] purchased a bike and helmet so he could get to work. He gave up athletics so he could work and support his family and is choosing to enlist in the military for the same reason; he has also been helping with food distribution during COVID. We have created an award for him.

The Isa Hambrick Humanitarian Award will be presented to AVID students who have lived a life of honesty, integrity, and responsibility, with a demonstrated commitment to the welfare of the greater community.”

We are very proud of Isa and wish him all the best as he moves forward in military service to our country.

Covid-19: Week 13 of Food Distributions, June 12, 2020

Food, grocery cards, and essential products were distributed at our three sites — Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and Loch Raven Academy:

Parkville High School: 346 cars, 7 walk-ups, 47 deliveries

Owings Mills High School: 149 cars, 10 deliveries

Loch Raven Academy: 108 cars, 3 walk-ups, 9 deliveries

Almost $51,000 of food and non-food products was distributed; the food represented over 38,000 meal equivalents.

For the second time, Maryland Waterways Foundation with the leadership of Karen Wynn, supplied crucial transportation for a huge amount of perishable produce and bread donated by the Edgemere Church of God. We received 80 boxes of produce and 20 boxes of bread yesterday! We distributed all of the produce and bread and fed over 120 families comprising hundreds of people, at Loch Raven Technical Academy in Towson and some at Parkville High School too. The produce was in wonderful condition thanks to Brewers Landing Bar & Grill supplying the refrigerator truck for storage.

Every one of these links had to happen and they all did – donation to Edgemere Church, then to Maryland Waterways and Karen, to Brewers Landing, to Michael Darenberg and Zac Cantler, and finally to the volunteers organized at the distribution site. We are so grateful for everyone who makes this complicated transportation and distribution possible!

Covid-19: Week 12 of Food Distributions, June 5, 2020

Food, grocery cards, and essential products were distributed at our three sites — Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and Loch Raven Academy:

Parkville High School: 346 cars, 7 walk-ups, 27 deliveries

Owings Mills High School: 140 cars

Loch Raven Academy: 110 cars, 3 walk-ups, 10 deliveries

Over $45,000 of food and non-food products were distributed; the food represented over 28,000 meal equivalents.

Owings Mills High School’s distribution included 185 boxes of produce, donated by the Baltimore County Government and John Olszewski Jr.  Each box held 30 pounds and included potatoes, celery, fruit, rice and tomatoes. This donation was in addition to the regular distribution of bread and non-perishable groceries and essential items like soap and diapers.


Bags of produce for distribution at Owings Mills High School

Covid-19: Week 11 of Food Distributions, May 29, 2020

We provided 3 food distribution sites: Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and Loch Raven Academy.  In 2 hours, there were 565 cars, 40 deliveries to families, and 12 families walking to sites to get food.  The estimated total number of people served was over 3,000.

The need is increasing at the rate of 10-15% a week.  We are running out of diapers in 30-40 minutes at every site.

We are now purchasing food to supplement the incredible efforts of our volunteers and to sustain these sites through the summer months.

Aerial view of Parkville High School parking lot – four lines of cars and still a major back-up on to Putty Hill Ave.

Covid-19: Week 10 of Food Distributions, May 22, 2020

Distributions of food and essential items were made at Parkville High School, Owings Mills High School, and for the first time, at Loch Raven Academy in Towson.

The distributions were from 11 am to 1 pm and In those two hours:

Parkville High School: 283 cars, 5 walkers – 36 more cars than the week before

Owings Mills High School: 140 cars plus 10 deliveries to families — 26 more cars than the week before

Loch Raven Academy, Towson (first one): 97 cars plus 3 deliveries to families and one walker

The photos show all three sites – many thanks to Dana Stein and to Jonathan Schwartz for volunteering at Owings Mills High School this week.

Also a big thank you to Baltimore Hunger Project for bread, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center for sub sandwiches, and to all of our volunteers around the County who collect, sort, and bring donations week after week.

Covid-19: Week 9 of Food Distributions, May 15, 2020

Distributions of food and essential items were made at Parkville High School and Owings Mills High School from 11 am to 1 pm and In those two hours:

361 cars came through the lines.

Over $17,000 in food, grocery cards, and essential products were distributed, the food portion representing over 9,000 meal equivalents.

We are so grateful to Baltimore Hunger Project for bread, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center for sub sandwiches, and Saval for additional food supplies.  As always, a big thank you to all of our volunteers around the County who – week after week – collect, sort, and bring donations,  including diapers and period products.

Covid-19: Week 8 of Food Distributions, May 8, 2020

At Parkville High School, 45 cars had already lined up by 10am for the distribution beginning at 11:00a.m (see photo below).  At our food distributions at Parkville High School and Owings Mills High School, we distributed almost $20,000 in food and essential household items – in food, the equivalent of over 4,538 meals. A total of 359 cars came through both sites in a little over two hours.

Since schools closed on March 13, the Network has mailed or distributed over $40,000 in grocery gift cards to students/families in great need as identified by school staff.

The Student Support Network is one of twelve organizations that received emergency grant funding from No Kid Hungry for our food distributions – we are grateful for this support!

Many thanks to Nick Shah, owner of McAvoy’s Sports Bar & Grill for making another wonderful donation of 100 sandwiches, juice and cookies today – students love them!!

Covid-19: Week 7 of Food Distributions, May 1, 2020

For Week 7 of distributing food and other essential items at Parkville High School, people started lining up at 8:30am although we didn’t begin until 11am, demonstrating once again the extent of the need in Baltimore County.
Many thanks for the generosity of the following:

Maryland Food Bank, 9000 pounds of produce, meat, eggs and yogurt
University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, 160 sub sandwiches
Baltimore Hunger Project, 150 loaves of bread (they give the same amount to the distribution at Owings Mills High School)
Our incredible volunteers and donors, including Yara Cheikh, Cathi Forbes, Cheri Bond Pegues, Roxann Stackler AndersonNancy Budacz Dimitriades and Peter Dimitriades, Phoebe Evans Letocha and her daughter Abby, AND SO MANY OTHERS, who helped to donate and/or bring nearly 500 bags of groceries, over 120 bags of essential items and period cycle packs, and to our custodian hero Dave at Parkville High School, just an incredible effort today!

We are so grateful for the constant presence of Parkville High School administrators and staff – today Maureen, Paul, Carl, and Roxann all volunteered the whole time.  BCPS Board of Education Chair Kathleen Causey and County Councilman David Marks volunteered with us today too.

Distributions were also made at Owings Mill High School and grocery cards were mailed by staff at Network schools to those in need.

The top four photos from today’s food distribution were generously donated by a photographer who used his time to help us by documenting this event – the aerial view was taken of the parking lot at Parkville High School after cars were directed to line up there instead of backing up on Putty Hill and stretching to Harford Road.

Teachers understand we are doing this for the long haul: the far right photo on the bottom shows donations already on Laurie’s porch for next week from Parkville High School teachers!


Covid-19: Week 6 of Food Distributions, April 24, 2020

Literally hundreds of people made this huge food drive possible – we are so grateful!  There was an absolutely incredible effort from Cathi Forbes, Yara Cheikh and the amazing neighbors in Cathi’s neighborhood who donated to the Student Support Network Friday distribution at Parkville High School today!  So many people came to drop off food and share their commitment to keep doing this as long as people need it. Thank you all!

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell and photographer Jerry Jackson covered today’s distribution at Parkville High School.  To read the digital article, click here

All photographs below are courtesy of Jerry Jackson.


Wonderful Thank You Note After Week 5 Food Distributions, April 17, 2020

A heartfelt message, and photo, came in from a family who was at the end of the line on Friday, April 17, 2020 for the Network’s Parkville High School distribution.  This is the photo we all need to think about and here is her message:
“I was at the end of the line that went to almost Harford Road. I truly appreciate your help! My family really is forever grateful! First time ever being out of work and the kindness and generosity from the community has been amazing. Again, thank you everyone! The feminine products were also extremely helpful!!! I was in line and so many emotions were going through my head. To see so many people who need help and then to see so many wonderful people who are helping!”

Covid-19: Week 5 of Food Distributions, April 17, 2020

As Laurie Taylor-Mitchell reported: “The food distribution last Friday (April 17) at Parkville High School was one of the most wrenching events I have ever experienced – the line of cars with students and families waiting for food stretched as far as we could see for hours, extending out of the long parking lot back into Putty Hill Ave.

We gave out food for an hour and 45 minutes after Baltimore County Public Schools stopped handing out food – i.e. for nearly four hours.

The demand was so great I didn’t have time to stop and take pictures of the lines of cars – but did take some of setting up – we gave away all of the food you see in these photos, including over 9,000 pounds of produce, milk, yogurt and meat from the Maryland Food Bank, bread from Baltimore Hunger Project, 180 sub sandwiches from University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center (same number donated to Owings Mills!), and hundreds of bags of non-perishable food including food bags from Barb Carden and Linda Oliver, 80 bags of essential household supplies given by donors and sorted and bagged by Yara Cheikh and her family, (they are running out of all of those too, toilet paper, etc.), and 120 bags of period products, mostly from Abby Letocha’s wonderful project.

Vicki Almond and the team at Owings Mills High School ran out of food in two hours (photo at far right is from the Owings Mills distribution). We share resources, so recipients at Owings Mills received produce from Hungry Harvest this week, and also Saval Foods, again, as well as donations mentioned above. They ran out of food in two hours.”

In addition to the food distributions at Parkville and Owings Mills, staff at the rest of the Network schools mailed grocery cards to their students and families in need.

Covid-19: Week 4 of Food Distributions, April 10, 2020

Who would have thought we would be distributing food and essential household items in snow squalls and 30-mile an hour winds today, but so glad we were there! BCPS did not distribute today and will not on Monday because of the Easter holiday.

At Parkville High School alone we provided:
– 200 sub sandwiches donated by St. Joseph Medical Center.
– over 200 bags of bread/rolls donated by Baltimore Hunger Project – all bread was distributed
– 70 bags of produce
– 200 bags of food
– 40 bags of non-food essentials – gone in 30 minutes
– 20 bags period products – gone in 30 minutes

Many thanks to Weis Markets and to the Maryland Food Bank – they also donated food to this effort!

In addition to the food distribution at Parkville, staff at the rest of the Network schools mailed grocery cards to their students and families in need.

Covid-19: Week 3 of Food Distributions, April 3, 2020

At Parkville High School, the Network distributed via grocery gift cards and donated food the equivalent of 1700 meals.  Many thanks to McAvoy’s Sports Bar & Grill, St. Joseph Medical Center, Towson Presbyterian Church, and the Baltimore Hunger Project, which all donated food for today!

For the first time, we also distributed essential items, including toilet paper, soap, and laundry detergent – $800 worth donated.

We had twice as much food to give out as last week and ran out in the same amount of time, just over an hour, which shows how fast the need is increasing.

In addition to the food distribution at Parkville, staff at the rest of the Network schools mailed grocery cards to their students and families in need.

Photos: Mitch Koppelman, Reuters

Why We Do What We Do:  Thank You Note From Battle Monument School, March 31, 2020

We received this lovely note from one of the Network schools. Battle Monument School serves students between the ages of 3 years and 21 years old who have multiple disabilities and reside in the southeast area of Baltimore County.

Dear Student Support Donors and Volunteers,

The Battle Monument School Community is extremely grateful for your donation of grocery gift cards for our families. We have received a number of emails from families extending their sincere thanks. Families have expressed how challenging this time has been for them, and that they were thought about and supported through your gift meant a lot.

Our families, like everyone else, struggle with limited or discontinued income/resources as a result of this pandemic.

Our students thrive with routine, structure, and consistent supervision/care. Our current situation has put added stress on families who must find ways to address our student’s special physical and behavioral needs in their homes, without assistance or a break. For many of our families, finding ways to get out to food distribution sites with their children poses a serious challenge. Many of our students are medically fragile and require special diets or supplies. Having the freedom to use a grocery gift card to get what they need is extremely helpful. Their challenges will continue throughout this pandemic.

Again, thank you so much for your support. Our school community very much appreciates the support you have given to our families.

Sincerely yours,

Hilary R. Hellerbach, LCSW-C

School Social Worker

Battle Monument School

Covid-19: Week 2 of Food Distributions, March 27, 2020

Another great success with our food distribution at Parkville High School today!

We distributed 250 sub sandwiches (donated by St. Joseph Medical Center); 100 boxes of produce (donated by Hungry Harvest); 140 bags of food and some personal care items donated by the Student Support Network; and $500 in grocery gift cards were distributed by school staff. Everything we had was distributed in about an hour and ten minutes before we ran out – over 100 cars came through in the first hour, with students of all ages.

Many thanks to Erin of St. Joseph Medical Center, David of Hungry Harvest, Timonium United Methodist Church, and our Network volunteers, the Principal of Parkville High School, Ms. Maureen Astarita, Ms. Roxann Anderson, the PPW for Parkville, and Officer Buie, for helping us with this distribution! 

A Food Distribution Was Made March 25, 2020

Great work from our friends at Loch Raven Academy and Halstead Academy for distributing 3,000 lbs of food from the Maryland Food Bank to 89 families yesterday! The Student Support Network helped support this distribution by providing plastic bags/gloves/hand sanitizer and supplementing food with grocery gift cards.

A Food Distribution Was Also Made At Owings Mills High School, March 20, 2020

We also made a distribution of food at Owings Mills High School today.  Here’s a report from Vicki Almond on the wonderful results:

225 people served – this does not count the many additional family members who will benefit from:
   150 sub sandwiches donated to the Network for distribution
   100 boxes of produce donated to the Network
   65 bags of food purchased by the Network
   frozen items donated by the Maryland Food Bank

We are so thankful to Vicki and her organization of volunteers at the High School who made this distribution possible!

Our First Food Distribution Was Made at Parkville High School, March 20, 2020

In support of Network students during the Covid-19 outbreak, we made our first food and grocery card distribution at Parkville High School today.  It was a huge success! We gave out 150 sub sandwiches and grocery cards – everything was gone in an hour. We hope to be back next Friday with more food.

Many thanks to the Community Health Specialist and Community Outreach staff of the University of Maryland St. Joseph Health Center for making this donation — and the one to Owings Mills High School today also — possible!

We got close enough just for a few seconds for one group picture with Parkville school staff (will not do that again…). We all wore gloves – the hospital provided hand sanitizer and wipes and the tablecloth and information on the virus to pass out – very thoughtful!

Student Support Network Helps AVID Students at Parkville High School Through Funding Field Trip to Stevenson University, December 2019

From Julie Evans, the AVID Coordinator at Parkville:

Dear Educational Champions of the Parkville Network,

Thank you so much for partnering with the PHS AVID Program once again to provide a valuable college experience to our juniors as they toured Stevenson University and dined on campus today. Approximately 30% of our AVID Senior class has already received acceptances from SU following their visit last year, so it was a joy to experience the campus with our current juniors who are well on their own way to college readiness. Please take a moment to enjoy the smiles from campus today. For some of our (new) kids, it was their first college visit. Thank you so much for investing in their future!

We appreciate you,

Julie Evans 

AVID Coordinator, Parkville HS 

AVID Students Visit Goucher College, November 2019

Under the leadership of Julie Evans, the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program at Parkville High School helps students succeed academically and apply for college. The Network is a proud supporter of this program and helped fund their field trip to Goucher this November. They had a great time! These field trips to academic institutions open up new worlds of possibility for our students.

The 2019 Annual Fall Drive Was A Great Success, November 2019

Many thanks to all who participated!

$15,342 of in-kind donations distributed to 19 schools

262.5 volunteer hours

$1,000+ collected in monetary donations

Pinewood Elementary Donates To The Fall Drive, November 8-9, 2019

We are very grateful to the students and staff at Pinewood Elementary – their donations helped make our Annual Fall Drive a big success!

Kindness Is Contagious, November 2019

Occasionally our Student Support Network volunteers have a small glimpse into the world of our students in need: “I was in the closet yesterday organizing some things and the counselor brought in a student while I was there. He was very shy at first…maybe a little uncomfortable because I was there. But after I helped them find some items that he needed, he spoke up and enthusiastically asked where he could sign up to help. I found this so heartwarming because not many middle school students think that way and also because he was so shy. I think he genuinely felt like he really wanted to help because he was so grateful that he was able to get the items that he needed.”

Parkville High ELL Program Goes To Annapolis, Fall 2019

The Network provided the majority of the funding for 180 students in the ELL program (English Language Learners) at Parkville High School to participate in a field trip to get to know the capital of our state in their unit “My Maryland”.

The Network works closely with the ELL Chair at Parkville, Anita Prifti, and also provides school supplies and other items for students in need.

Owings Mills Elementary Holds Its First “Kindness Closet Night”, October 2019

Thanks to school staff, a generous community, adult volunteers, and a group of student volunteers who call themselves the Kindness Club, Owings Mills Elementary was able to hold its first Kindness Closet Night, benefiting parents and students in need, on October 17.  It was a great success!  According to a staff member, “Through our partnership with the Student Support Network, we were able to host a food and clothing giveaway for twenty families in our school.”

Adult volunteers and staff with the student volunteers who call themselves the Kindness Club.
Jenny Conrad, Assistant Principal at OME and Susan Katz, one of the lead volunteers, with a Kindness Club volunteer.
Student volunteer members of the Kindness Club with some of the food donations.
Lane Levine of A Friendly Bread who donated bread for this event.

Rachel Carey Provided 50 Backpacks With School Supplies, August 2019

Rachel Carey dropped off 50 backpacks with school supplies for the Network – an extraordinary expression of generosity and perfect timing for the beginning of the school year! Rachel Carey Photography is a Family and Lifestyle husband and wife photography team based out of Harford County.

We Celebrate The AVID Honor Role Students, March 2019!

The Student Support Network is proud to support the AVID program at Parkville High School – Honor Roll certificates were recently awarded to 53 students, including these students from the 9th and 10th grades. In addition, seven teacher awards were given to individual students for their hard work and dedication. Congratulations!

As one student said: “I feel honored and appreciated. Thank you for the reward that pushes me to do better and achieve my goals!”

ICYMI — Loch Raven High School Community Day, March 2019

The Loch Raven High School Community Day last Saturday was a huge success – hundreds of people came to enjoy food, music, art, crafts, and get information about community groups. The Loch Raven Network received hundreds of items – a big thank you to two volunteers, Kris Kominoth and Grace Rogers for staffing our table there! At the event, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell met Kathleen Causey, Board of Education member for the 3rd District in Baltimore County, and Adrienne Hammel, Volunteer extraordinaire for this event and also for the Student Support Network.

Kris Kominoth and Grace Rogers volunteering for the Loch Raven Network at the Loch Raven Community Day
Adrienne Hammel, Kathleen Causey, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell at Loch Raven Community Day

Another Student Success Story, January 2019

A student in a Network school had to start working to help his family, and was spending a lot of time getting back and forth from the job, which meant less time for study – and he is a good student.

The Network got him a bike and a helmet, thanks to an alert school staff member who was concerned about him and thought the Network might be able to help.  Our partnerships with school staff make these life-changing gifts possible.

Sometimes We Measure Success One Student at a Time, December 2018

Another great story from the holiday season: this student’s glasses broke, he couldn’t see well enough to do his schoolwork and his family could not afford the repairs or transportation to get there. Thanks to school staff and Dr. George Duncan of MD Eye Care, he was able to get new frames – the staff person said his whole face lit up when he put them on in her office! To be able to see well again is life-changing!

Congratulations to the Parkville High AVID Honor Roll Students! December, 2018

Congratulations to Ms. Julie Evans and all of the students in the AVID program at Parkville who made the honor roll!

The Network supports the AVID program at Parkville with two special donors who have made a year-long commitment with monthly donations.

Stories of gratitude from the Loch Raven High Network, December 2018

From the social worker at Loch Raven High School: “I received so many hugs and warm handshakes over the past two weeks on behalf of you and your team of volunteers. You are truly softening the burden of poverty and homelessness for families at this time of the year, as well as through the Network’s supports all year long. I am so blessed to be the link for many families with the Network, and always let folks know that the thanks are all due to you all. Yesterday, after receiving a hug from a father of the last family on our holiday adoption list, a man who is really a stranger to me but so very grateful for your generosity, my heart felt full. I hope that this is how you and the other volunteers feel too for all of the gift-giving done this December.

Below is an email of thanks that I received from a mother this morning; her words ring so true:

“Gm Ms. Putchat I just wanted to thank you and your team of volunteers from the bottom of my heart for all the help that you all helped provide for my family and I, you have no idea how much this has helped my family, and we are truly appreciative for how you all have gone above and beyond in the manner in which you have. The gifts that were given helped add a little bit more of a peace of mind, in that I don’t have to be stressed Tryin to figure out how to make a way of no way. I truly do thank you all 😍👍🏽💖💙💙💙”

To all of our Network volunteers, thank you and Happy Holidays!

The Adopt-a-Family Event at Loch Raven High is a Welcome Success, December, 2018

Twenty-eight families were adopted this year by volunteers of the Student Support Network.

A garage filled with gifts for families participating in the Adopt-A-Family Program for the December holidays at Loch Raven High School.

Knit for the Needy Group Donates to the Network, December 2018

A big Thank You to Sophie and Sophia, organizers of the Knit for the Needy group at Towson High School. This year they chose the Student Support Network to receive their wonderful hats, scarves, and mittens (previously they have donated to the Helping Up Mission). Last week they stopped by the Network’s storage space with their donations. We’re grateful!

An Important Donation From Rheumatology Associates, November, 2018


A huge thank you to Ashleigh and Amanda and the staff of Rheumatology Associates of Baltimore, for their extraordinary generosity to the Student Support Network: 31 new backpacks filled with supplies, and several large bags of donations for our Network schools!

A Very Happy Thanksgiving For Network Families! November, 2018

So grateful to our generous donors and volunteers:
At our Network schools, Loch Raven High School, Parkville High School, and Pine Grove Middle School, we helped 80 families for Thanksgiving! Here is a note sent by a social worker from a grateful parent – and there were so many verbal expressions of gratitude to school staff too, when families received the grocery gift cards from them.



Brownie Scout Troop #1745 Works on Their Philanthropy Badge, November 18, 2018

Laurie had an outstanding meeting and discussion with Brownie Troop #1745 of Stoneleigh – the troop did a poster of “wants” compared with “needs” – and gave this wonderful box and several other bags of donations to the Student Support Network. Many thanks to Christine Justis, the troop leader, and Jenn Koster, the co-leader, for inviting Laurie! The troop is working on their philanthropy badge and getting information on how to help others.

Our Big Fall Drive for Students in Need at 19 Baltimore County Schools was a Huge Success!

On November 9 and 10, 2018:

  • Over $8,500 was received in monetary and in-kind donations of products and clothing for schools
  • 300 hours were given by volunteers, including school nurses, counselors, teachers, and students

We are showing schools around the County what can happen when our generous communities organize to help their students in great need.  In addition, volunteers from one school told us that a local hospital had heard about the drive, and donated to their school, so our efforts had effects beyond the location of our drive.

Special thanks to:

  • Thomas Episcopal Church, for donating the space and helping with publicity for the drive
  • Church of the Redeemer, Journey to Adulthood Class, for their donations
  • The Lilacs Group – Ladies in Life and Christian Services
  • Students of Goucher College
  • Students of Towson University
  • Students Archbishop Curley High School
  • Students from Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White Attorneys at Law and staff
  • Stephanie Binetti and David Kosak, Binetti Political Strategies
  • Councilwoman Vicki Almond

Messages of thanks are already coming in from schools:

“Our PTA just wants to let you know how much we appreciate being able to participate in the donation drive for Bedford Elementary. We received so much stuff for our students and we were overwhelmed by the opportunity to experience so much generosity. Thank you for everything that you do. It really means a lot and we are very humbled.”

Christina Herron, Treasurer, Bedford Elementary PTA

It was an honor to part of this successful fall drive. It was rewarding to be amongst volunteers giving so much to our communities and we had FUN!!!  Thank you for including Padonia International E.S.  The donations received are greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Vicki Schmelz, RN


We are very thankful for our many volunteers and donors.  So many students and schools were supported by their generosity during our Big Fall Drive!

Annual Fundraiser Surpassed Its Goal, October 16, 2018

“Chocolate, Cupcakes & Coffee: Supporting Students in Need was a big success!  The Network’s annual fundraiser took place on Tuesday, October 16th at St. Thomas Episcopal Church with approximately 100 people in attendance.  The weather was perfect for the “Pride Of Baltimore” Chorus to sing in the courtyard as attendees walked in.  Mike Connell provided piano music as guests enjoyed cheeses, truffles and, of course, cupcakes.  The 50/50 Raffle, Chinese Auction & Silent Auction were enjoyed by all.  The goal for the event was $20,000; and the night brought in over $31,000!  Many thanks to the sponsors, volunteers & attendees.
Did we mention there were cupcakes and chocolate??
And wonderful raffle and auction items?
And the “Pride of Baltimore” Chorus?
And much appreciated sponsors?
And Mike Connell at the piano?

Important Visit to Goucher College for Freshmen in AVID Program at Parkville High School, October 2018

The Student Support Network provides funding for academic field trips at our Network schools for students who cannot afford the costs.  Funds for the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program at Parkville are being provided for the 2018-2019 school year through generous donations from Cheri and Bob Pegues and Susan and Jeff Dorsey.  Visiting a college early in high school can be a life-changing experience for students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds. Network funding makes additional college visits and other interactions with former AVID participants possible.

The letter below was written by Julie Evans, the AVID coordinator at Parkville HS, to staff at Goucher who helped arrange this visit:

Cass and Corky,

The Parkville High School AVID Freshmen had a fabulous experience visiting Goucher College Tuesday.  Corky, your presentation was so helpful and informative for this specific audience.   Your student tour guides also did a wonderful job providing an insightful and enjoyable tour of the campus.  Needless to say, lunch on campus in your beautiful new dining hall was a highlight of the trip for the students as they thoroughly enjoyed their lunch.  Thank you so much to all of you for making this valuable college experience happen for our college preparatory students.  I have attached photos from the visit.  We also enjoyed our time with two of our own grads that joined us and shared how thrilled they are to be Gophers.  You all have certainly made an indelible impression on our students that will continue to reap benefits as they work towards making their college dreams a reality.

With gratitude,
Julie Evans
AVID Coordinator
Reading Specialist
Parkville High School

The Network is Proud to be a Partner in Support of Parkville High’s AVID Program, September 2018!

The Student Support Network supports the AVID program, a wonderful program in schools that helps to prepare all students, using a student-centered approach, to prepare for college. We recently supplied styluses for high school seniors at Parkville HS – here is a message from the AVID coordinator: “Using technology effectively is part of our curriculum in AVID. We want students to be comfortable with technology so they can utilize it in their classes and for study tools. The stylus allows a student to annotate text directly on a document without typing. It also allows them to be more creative with their notes and use color coding, both of which are shown to enhance learning retention. All of our students were issued devices that include a touch screen feature, but the students did not have styluses to use this function effectively. The styluses opened a door to more tech tools for them and they greatly appreciate them!”

Learn more about the AVID program

See the students’ thank you notes below.

Parkville High School Kickoff, August 2018

Many thanks to Amy, Abby, and Jack McConnor (Jack working in another room), Sharon Childs, and Sharon Walker for their help in filling backpacks with school supplies for Parkville High School. We reached our initial goal of providing 50 backpacks for the beginning of the school year, and plan to do more!

A Successful Summer of 2018 for ESOL Students at Parkville High School

These are messages of gratitude from students attending the summer school ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program at Parkville. Most of these students also work in the summer to help support their families.  The Parkville Network provided food and personal care items, which were available occasionally after school sessions and stocked in a classroom.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

Many thanks to the volunteers who organized the tables for the Network at two National Night Out Events for the Towson and Cockeysville Police Precincts: Christina Pumphrey and Sharon Walker in downtown Towson, and Chris Diehl and Mary Beth Protzman at St. Thomas’ Church.  We collected hundreds of donations that will be distributed to students in need at our Network schools.  Special thanks to Pat France, the organizer for the Towson event.  In addition to all who donated, a big thank you to Rosedale Federal Savings & Loan, Target stores of Towson and Timonium, the Sheriff’s Office of Baltimore County, Steve Lafferty, Scott Schellenburger, Johnny Olszewski Jr., Robbie Leonard, and Nina McHugh for their generous donations!  The Ravens mascot may have had the toughest job – how he/she (?) survived the heat inside that massive get-up we’ll never know…

Representatives from the Sheriff’s Office of Baltimore County at the Student Support Network table in Towson.
Target Corporation representatives visiting the SSN table in Towson with their donations.
Delegate Steve Lafferty visits the SSN table at National Night Out in Towson.
No National Night Out event is complete without the Ravens mascot stopping by!
Johnny Olszewski Jr. stops by the SSN table during National Night Out in Towson.
The Network storage closet  — showing the space full — after restocking with donations from people attending National Night Out events in downtown Towson and at St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church.
Chris Diehl and Mary Beth Protzman at the National Night Out event at St. Thomas’ Church.

Second Donation From Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation, June 2018

We are thrilled to report that the Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation has committed to make an additional donation of $12,000 to the Student Support Network this year.  The Foundation’s continuing support of our partnership provides much needed funds for the ongoing work of the Network.  In addition, the Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation is a Title Sponsor, along with Rosedale Federal Savings and Loan Association, of our Annual Fundraiser to be held October 16, 2018.    Read More

Spring Drive, April 2018

A two-day Spring Drive was held to benefit more than 18 schools and organizations benefiting students in Baltimore County, including Padonia Elementary, Pot Spring Elementary, Essex Elementary, McCormick Elementary, Campfield Center/Judy Center, Fullerton Elementary, Lansdowne Elementary, Riverview Elementary, Pleasant Plains Elementary, Warren Elementary, Cockeysville Middle, Pine Grove Middle, Parkville High, Food for Thought, Dulaney High, Loch Raven High, Chesapeake High, and Empower4life (benefiting students in homeless shelters). Items donated included non-perishable food, school supplies, toiletries, household supplies, linens, and clothing.     Read More

Volunteer with donations for Pleasant Plains Elementary School, April 2018
Donations from students and alumni of Goucher College for the 2018 Spring Drive
Donations gathered at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church for the 2018 Spring Drive
Volunteers with donations for McCormick Elementary School, Spring Drive 2018

Parkville High School AVID College Visit, April 2018

In April, 2018, 50 honors students from the AVID program at Parkville High School visited the University of Maryland at College Park – a trip funded by a donor to the Parkville Network.

Towson Times / Baltimore Sun Article Spotlights Laurie Taylor-Mitchell’s Educational Advocacy

A March 14, 2018 article in the Towson Times by Courtney McGee noted Laurie Taylor-Mitchell’s educational advocacy and the founding of the Loch Raven Network, which has since grown into the Student Support Network.   Read More

Pine Grove Middle Network Is Off To A Great Start, Early 2018!

From Christina Pumphrey, lead organizer of the Pine Grove Middle School Network:

Our school supply drive is starting out strong! One of our volunteers, Davida, stopped by with a donation of 24 back packs! Also, a few retired PGMS teachers brought donations. We are so very thankful for the support.

Parkville High School Winter Clothing Drive, January 2018

Before: staff getting students’ attention for coats, hats and gloves, January 2018.
After: Happy students getting winter clothes during January 2018 clothing drive.

Clothing Drive, January 2018

During the bitterly cold weather of late December and early January, The Loch Raven Network and Empower4life sponsored a drive for coats, hats and gloves for students in need.  So many people donated that students in 10 schools were helped!     Read More

Volunteer with donations at the January 2018 clothing drive

Every Donation to the Loch Raven High Network Had An Impact in 2017

To see just how important the 2017 Loch Raven High School projects were to the school’s students, please read the wonderful letter of thanks from the school Principal, Administrative Assistant, and Social Worker for our programs and funding of projects. Chris Diehl, the lead organizer for the Network program at Loch Raven, is phenomenal!  Read the letter.

In addition, the work of the Student Support Network on behalf of Loch Raven High School did not go unnoticed by Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who wrote a letter to Laurie Taylor-Mitchell after reading one of the Towson Times articles on the Network.  Read Congressman Ruppersberger’s letter

2017 LRHS In-School Projects Supporting Students in Poverty

  • 32 families benefited from the Adopt A Family Holiday program     Learn More
  • 25 backpacks were distributed through the Back to School Project
  • A Clothing Drive was conducted for mock employee interviews
  • The Thanksgiving Drive benefited  students & families in need
  • The “Room of Support”, called the Loch Raven Haven, was organized & stocked with “in demand” items
  • $100 Grocery store gift cards were distributed for spring & summer breaks
  • Food & toiletries were stocked in key offices
  • Donations covered caps & gowns, gym uniforms, prom ticket, yearbook fees, college deposit, AP test fees, field trip & basketball gear assistance for homeless/low income students
October 2017: Mock interviews with employers give students experience with interviewing for a job. The Loch Raven Network’s drive for shoes and clothes for interviews helped students look their best for interviews at Loch Raven, Parkville, and Chesapeake High Schools.
Network volunteers at Loch Raven High School, December 2017
Students at Goucher College with items donated to the Network by Goucher Students and Alumni, December 2017
Gifts arriving at Loch Raven High School, Adopt A Family Program, December 2017
Baltimore County Employees at Drumcastle with gifts for the Loch Raven High School Adopt A Family Program, December 2017

Successful Adopt a Family Holiday Event at Parkville High School, December, 2017

The Adopt a Family holiday program benefited 16 families.

Boxes of gifts and items arriving at Parkville High School for the December, 2017, Adopt a Family holiday program.
Donations stored in a school office for the Adopt a Family program, December 2017.
School staff collecting and organizing donations at Parkville High School for the Adopt a Family program, December 2017.

Parkville High Network Supports The AVID Program, Fall 2017

The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program is a college readiness program designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. The program places special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills.
Fall, 2017: Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (6th District), supporters, and students of the AVID program – the AVID program has been supported by Councilwoman Bevins and the Parkville Network.

Summer Drive Sponsored By Empower4Life Benefitted Parkville High School, August 2017

Donations loaded onto a truck during the August 2017 Empower4Life drive.
The Parkville Pantry after receiving donations from the August 2017 drive.

Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation Donation, May 2017

In May of 2017, the Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation, under the leadership of Gregory Jones, donated $8000 to four local high schools, including Parkville and Loch Raven High Schools.  This generous gift has set an example for other charitable organizations.     Read More

Loch Raven and Parkville Network Volunteers, and representatives from Dulaney High School, with the Freemasons of the Mt. Moriah Lodge, Towson, December 2017