I’m still relatively new to Carroll County, and by most local measures I will be for the next 15 years. But I couldn’t be more proud to be living in Carroll County and the City of Westminster (especially working for MAGIC) than I am now during the COVID-19 crisis. If resilience and fortitude could be personified by a community, it is ours, as evidenced by how our community has responded at every twist and turn that the pandemic has thrown at us and our great State of Maryland.
To illustrate my point, I’ve been gathering a list of examples of how our community has responded to COVID-19. This will certainly be an incomplete list, and I am focusing mostly on how our businesses and community have responded as opposed to the tireless efforts of our local government, healthcare workers and first responders, but I will be updating this list as much as I can to keep it current:
Allbrite Pressure Wash: This Sykesville business started offering free pressure washing of playground equipment, so kids could keep playing on regularly disinfected equipment.
American Ice Company Cafe: This cafe, owned by local business owner Ben Chennat of Yesdi, had only just opened its doors when the pandemic shut them down, but not before they quickly pivoted and re-opened with a built-in walk-up window in their storefront on Main Street in downtown Westminster to allow for patrons to stay socially distanced while ordering and purchasing their goods. They have since reopened to provide free food to first responders.
Ashley Black: This industrious stay-at-home mom has been making her own innovative “S clips” to help make masks more comfortable and so far has donated them with orders coming in from Johns Hopkins, Carroll Hospital and St. Joseph’s Medical Center. She has also made custom puzzles for kids and families as a welcome distraction at home.
Ballard Bunting Boutique: Julie Ballard has pivoted to making masks.
BizMarquee.com: This local web design firm quickly spun up CarrollEats.com and AltGrocery.com to help residents find available to-go/delivery and grocers still stocked and operating during COVID-19.
Blue Point Crab House: This seafood purveyor gave away free lobsters as a treat to a handful of lucky healthcare workers.
Candace Birger: This cosplayer and Marketing Director from Tristar Martial Arts- Westminster has made a name for herself as “The Face Mask Lady” making free face masks for anyone that needs them.
Carroll Chamber of Commerce: Mike McMullin and Peggy Soper have risen to the challenge of informing our local businesses and non-profits, regardless of chamber membership, of the various COVID-19 grant funding and loan opportunities.
Carroll Community College: Not only have they moved to a virtual classes for their students, but they donated all the supplies from their Nursing Program to local hospitals and healthcare workers.
Carroll County Food Sunday: This food bank program has had to close physical operations, but behind the scenes they are making significant logistical changes to ensure people are fed and preparing for the increased demand as a result of unemployment during COVID-19.
Carroll County Public Library: The library is using our 3D printers to make parts for protective face shields in support of the MD Makers Unite project (managed by Open Works).
Carroll Technology and Innovation Council: CTIC recently donated laptops to various families in need who were referred to them by Carroll County Public Schools.
Digital Consulting LLC: Owner Adam Stultz coordinated donations from various businesses and individuals to purchase pizzas for healthcare workers, first responders, nursing home employees, and grocery store workers in our community. 100 pizzas donated and counting! Adam thanks his donors in this post here.
JeannieBird Baking Company: One of the most popular cafes in Westminster, JeannieBird was one of the first to enact social distancing measures, literally providing 6′ taped boundaries on the floor for patrons standing in line to purchase goods. They were also responsive to focusing on bulk ordering, selling sleeves of their famous sweet potato biscuits rather than one at a time.
KnowMe: This local tech startup is providing their HIPAA compliant, electronic medical IDs to at-risk seniors in assisted living communities.
MAGIC: Our own organization has been hard at work pivoting our programs to function 100% virtually using tools like Zoom and other open source software for running Capture the Flag cybersecurity competitions. Besides delivering high-end laptops capable of running Unity game engines to our students in our game development class, one of the businesses we have helped to pivot their manufacturing now provides thousands of face shields and protective gowns to hospitals across the country, including our own Lifebridge Carroll Hospital. You can see our social media post about our various efforts here.
McDaniel College: McDaniel College has been recognized as one of the first colleges or universities nationwide that moved to a 100% virtual semester in light of COVID-19. They have also donated supplies to healthcare workers.
Only7Seconds: This non-profit has printed “Hope Cards” to include in student lunches being handed out across the country.
Shephard’s Staff: Even though they have had to close their Blessings Closet and physical operation, they have been facilitating virtual appointments to connect those in need with donations.
Tailored To You Designs: Mary Woodhams has also been making masks.
Together We Own It: Continuing in their mission to feed and clothe Carroll County youth, this non-profit has incorporated social distancing measures to remain active.
Ting Westminster: Ting worked with the City of Westminster to create a “Park and WiFi” free gigabit hotspot in downtown Westminster where people can pull up in their cars and get online with their crazyfast internet speeds. A welcome respite for those stuck at home with slow or no internet. Perhaps a new drive-in theater equivalent to #netflixandchill with your laptops or mobile devices?
Westminster Online Community: 22,000 members strong, this private Facebook group has been a tremendous resource of real-time news about the happenings in Carroll County during this crisis, whether tragic, heartwarming or humorous. You are sure to get perspectives from all backgrounds and point of views (some sympathetic, some cynical), but you will certainly hear about it first on this group. And at a time when in-person interactions are limited, it’s a great way for the community to stay connected.
Again, these are just a few examples of the responsiveness, resilience and leadership that our community has shown during the pandemic. Please feel free to recommend more examples by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be sure to add them to this post.
Submitted by Graham Dodge, Executive Director of MAGIC