Friday, March 4, 2011

Giving Feels Good!

We have the best Girl Scout Troop ever.  I’m sorry if you are in a troop, I don’t mean to offend you, but seriously, our Troop rocks.  It is completely unique.  We are one Troop made up of only girls who learn out of school, ranging in ages from 5 to almost 11.  Our one Troop number includes the Daisy’s, the Brownies and the Juniors.  Our meetings are split by group but we come together to do amazing things from time to time.  

The leaders had this idea that we should do a community service project, not for a badge, or recognition but simply to experience the joy of doing for others.  Our local food banks are in dire need of food and our girls took on the challenge of filling empty shelves.  

This panty gives 4,000 meals away per MONTH.  Notice the bare shelves....
We began by brainstorming a list of items that we could collect if we stood outside a grocery store.  We discussed the difference between perishable and non-perishable food items and healthy vs. non-healthy donations.  They came up with items like peanut butter, canned meat, beans, and pasta.  I contacted our local food bank and told them of our idea.  I was important to me to have our girls experience this project from conception to completion.  I am funny that way......  I did not want to drop off our donation and just walk away.  I asked if it would be possible for the girls to see the pantry and be educated about how their project would directly impact the lives of people in need in their community.  We were granted a tour of the pantry (which is typically closed on Thursday afternoons) as well as a tour of the entire community center.  

We learned that this pantry only serves residents of our town and they have over 400 clients.  The clients, or "friends" as they are called can come to the pantry twice a month to receive a bag of items that will make 8 to 10 nutritious meals.  The friends do not come from one specific neighborhood in our town but are spread out across the town, some might be our neighbors, kids we play basketball with or families at our church.  Hunger knows no race, gender or age.  Last month 4,000 meals were given to friends.  Last year 57,000 meals were given.  And this is just one of two food pantries in our town.....

Five hours in freezing temperatures but they LOVED it!

It took three cars to transport this food to the pantry!

This day left me feeling in awe of what children are capable of.  Our girls stood outside Stop&Shop in 30 degree weather holding signs and handing out slips of paper with requested items.  They approached customers with kindness and respect.  They graciously thanked both donors and passerby's alike.  They learned to speak with confidence and clarity. They recognized the volume of donations they were collecting and were eager to get to the pantry.  The adults did very little but supervise as the donations poured in.  Over five hours we collected five overflowing shopping carts of food and $220 in Stop&Shop gift cards! 

Except for what is on the table, this was our donation!  Collected by our girls!
When our girls left the Community Center they were energized and invigorated.  They want to do this type of project again soon.  Like next month!  My Grace, hugged me and said that “giving feels good”.  

Yes Baby, giving feels real good!


GARY said...

Being a "friend" of Monroes food pantry I am so proud of all the girls for their accomplishment in this awesome learning and gratifying experience.... They can be assured that what they have done is deeply appreciated by both the families and the community. The way you took them through the whole experience from start to finish was something they will probably remember for the rest of their lives and hopefully pass it along to family and friends in the future. Please give them a shout out from myself and Jan for the wonderful service they have done !!!!

Theresa said...

That is wonderful! A's Brownie troop did something similar a few years ago. People standing outside the supermarket are my favorite way to give. I find out what they need on my way in, and hand it over on my way out. It's easy and it makes you feel good :)

A was invited to be part of our youth group (it usually starts in 6th grade, but she is 11 and through choir has become friends with some of the other kids). Our youth group sponsors 8 children in Zambia and made the commitment to sponsor 2 more. A came home this Tuesday very excited about the letters they got from the children and the fundraising she will part of through youth group.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to teach them the real facts of life. You're doing a great job. Keep it up.
Jerry & Kay

mamak said...

It was awesome. I haven't felt that good standing in one spot in the cold for anything. Ever. I can't wait to do it all again!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

This was great...I love your blog design....Fantastic blog..

Stephanie said...

Look at all that food! Kids really can change the world - especially when they have positive adult role models to guide them. :)

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