Every year, the Girl Scout troops of Eastern Missouri head out into the neighborhoods for the largest service project of the year. The Grasshopper and I have participated twice now with her Daisy troop in the April Showers drive to collect toiletries and personal care items. The girls spend one day hanging bags on doors requesting items like toothbrushes, tampons, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and deodorant. The next weekend, the girls return to collect the bags and bring the items to banks where they can be distributed to families in need.
You might wonder why this sort of collection is important. Did you know that food stamps and many other forms of assistance don’t cover basic items like toothpaste? Did you know that having a period without access to pads or tampons can force girls and young women to miss school and work?
From the GSEM website:
- Among households in Missouri, 25.8% percent reported annual income under $25,000 household income.
- Among families with children under age 18, 16.7% percent reported annual income less than $25,000.
- In 2013, the percentage of children ages 5-17 living in families in poverty in Missouri was over 20%.
- According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average family of four will spend about $144 per month on housekeeping and personal care items.
- One in seven Americans rely on food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families, a report from Feeding America, the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of food assistance to low-income Americans, finds.
These kinds of donations are critical in supporting our community and helping to lift people out of the cycle of poverty. Yesterday, the Grasshopper and her troop collected 1,682 personal care items. Last year, the troop collected 1,327 items. If you live in the area and forgot to put out your bag, it’s not too late.
Individuals, who did not receive a bag or are unavailable to donate during the Showering the Community program can drop off personal care items in the barrels located at any Schnucks location in Missouri from April 15-27 or nearest Dierbergs Markets from April 25 – May 9, 2015 . They can also call 314.400.4601 or 1.800.727.4475, ext. 4601, to arrange a pickup.
I’m proud of our girls in Eastern Missouri. If you would like to help out others in your local community, please call your local food banks. They will almost always accept these kinds of donations, and you could make a huge impact on the lives of people in your community.
Before every troop meeting, our girls recite the Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
and the Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
respect myself and others,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.
This past week, they didn’t just say the words, they lived them.