Girl Scouts Take Action in the Time of Disaster
In the wake of the nearly 20 tornadoes to recently hit Mercer, Montgomery, Greene, and Miami counties, Girl Scouts from all over western Ohio came together to support their friends, neighbors, Girl Scout sisters, and members of the community in need. We heard stories from all over the council of girls pitching in to help, here following are just a few of the stories reminding us of the courage, confidence, and character that Girl Scouts of all ages embody.
Organizing a supply or food drive is a great way to act quickly, and girls of all ages can participate. There were several troops that organized donation drives, many partnering with fellow troops and local businesses to help with the immediate needs of the tornado victims. Troop 35165 was one of those troops, collecting dozens of cases of water and diapers and hundreds of hygiene items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, soap, wipes, etc. to distribute within 24 hours. Their quick work was greatly appreciated by those in need. Other troops also saw hygiene as an immediate need and worked to fill that need.
Some troops like Troop 31289 recognized that their friends and other children in the areas hit by the tornado missed their toys, books and other items to play with. The girls partnered with local churches and preschools to collect kids items for outdoor play. They even decided to use their cookie money to buy large outdoor toys and donate them instead of using it for their overnight.
Troop 35105 also chose to use their troop funds to purchase items for humans, but didn’t want to forget the four-legged family members that were affected, so they also purchased bags of dog and cat food.
Troop 44810 may not have been in the area directly impacted by the storm, but they knew their Girl Scout sisters in the Greater Dayton area needed their help. This Cincinnati area Daisy troop hosted a donation drop off at Surrey Square in Norwood. There they ran into a famous face, eager to help out. Actor, Lip Sync Battle host and rapper, LL Cool J happened to be looking at a vacant space right by where they were set up. He approached the girls and graciously donated $100 saying that he wished he had known they would have been there because he would have brought more. The troop used his donation money to purchase baby supplies for the youngest victims of the storm to add to their already generous amount of donated goods.
Troop 34160 saw hundreds of volunteers and families in the community working to help clean up trees, debris, and sort through their homes. They realized that all of these folks needed support, so they opted to set up a burger, beverage, and baked goods stand to ensure everyone was hydrated and fueled as they worked tirelessly.
We saw many troops taking action, but as a council, we were eager to find a way to bring Girl Scout members from all over western Ohio together to support the community. Knowing that members from all over the council would be heading to Dayton for the Cookie Rewards Concert, we decided that would be a perfect moment to come together and help those in need. The manager of TRU by Hilton Huber Heights, a fellow GSWO member, helped us coordinate a food drive. Hundreds of cars came through to drop off goods, many of them concert-goers, some just stopping by to pitch in hopes to support those in need.
We heard another great success story from the Troop Cookie Reward Concert, but this one was a little different. Troop 33327 was directly affected by the devastating storm, with many suffering through displacement, no power, no water and trauma. Their troop leader, Anissa Lumpkin, wanted to give girls a break from the heartbreak. So she brought the troop together to attend the concert as a way to spend time with their Girl Scout sisters. For one night these girls sang, danced and embraced one another with love, happy to be together, happy to not be thinking about what they have lost by celebrating what they still have, each other. Another troop was even kind enough to gift some of their tickets to ensure the girls’ parents could enjoy the concert as well. This is an awesome reminder that even in the face of disaster, we can take a moment to find joy and connect with one another.
We are so proud to see GSWO members of all ages, all over the council doing their part to serve their communities and neighboring communities. We also know the work isn’t over. Many of our Girl Scout sisters (and brothers) are still doing their best to pick up the pieces and figure what’s next in the aftermath of the devastation. We know that the recovery effort will be a long road and GSWO will continue to work to serve those in need. If your girl or troop is planning or has already started a community service, Take Action or Highest Awards project regarding disaster relief or know of a way girls can continue to support the disaster relief effort, let us know. If your troop is in need after this terrifying ordeal, let us know how we can help. One thing we have learned from this event is that Girl Scouts are always eager to help their fellow sisters.
We’ve shared just a few of the many examples of members of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio reacting to a natural disaster, but if you want more information on how to support and talk with girls about events like this or want some additional guidance on how girls can get involved in relief efforts, see the resources below from GSUSA.