The Community Service program provides several service projects each school year, in effort to offer Cardinal students the opportunity to give back to our community. These projects include Light Up the Holidays, a partnership with a local hospital to bring gifts to children needing some special magic through the holiday season; Winter Food Drive / Rice Bagging Event, to support of the Arlington Food Assistance Center during its greatest time of need; Library Night / Book Swap, to support Westover Library and the greater Cardinal community; and support for the Food Bus, a non-profit that helps reduce food waste and feed the hungry.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Sarah Van Velsor (

Light Up the Holidays 2021

Light Up the Holidays is here! Please help local families and children in need by making their holidays brighter. In addition to our immediate community, we are providing gifts and gift cards for children and families identified by Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), Mended Little Hearts, and Bridges to Independence. Select one or more gift tags off of the bulletin board located in the front lobby of the school. Each tag contains an item requested by a family or child here in our area; you can place new, unwrapped items in the donation boxes located in the front lobby, with the tag taped to the item. Please limit gifts to $20 and under.

If you can’t make it to school to pick up a tag, you can still help: we are collecting gift cards for Target, Walmart, Giant, and Safeway. Drop them in the donation boxes at your convenience. The boxes will be emptied every day. If you have any questions, please contact Shakti Gorcys.

Food Bus

The PTA Community Service Committee is again partnering with Food Bus to collect unopened and unwanted packaged items and whole fruit that was served by the cafeteria (no food from home). Extended Day staff adds their unusable items instead of throwing them away. Parent volunteers deliver these items to Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) weekly. Last year we contributed 1,879 pounds of food!

The Food Bus is an easy way for our kids to become more involved in community service. Last year, our students were very enthusiastic about contributing their leftover cafeteria food and transferring perishable food into our Food Bus refrigerator. As part of the roll-out this year, parent volunteers will be re-introducing the program at Cardinal. We’ll be making some classroom visits, addressing students in the cafeteria, and we’ll be there during the first few days to help everyone get the hang of it. We encourage you to talk with your kids about the program. Please reiterate the key point from our training: students should eat all that they want before contributing to this effort. This is not a food donation program; rather, it is a way to redirect food from landfills to our neighbors in need. Only good food that would otherwise be thrown in the trash should be included. Visit for more information.

If you would like to take a turn delivering food to AFAC, please sign up here.  You can bring your child(ren) along with you. Contact Kelly Gisselman ( if you have any questions.

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