November is upon us, and the holiday season is right around the corner. As we move into this season, it is common for us to reflect on the things we are thankful for and find ways to give back and help those in need. Girl Scouts exemplifies service to others. Girls from across our 47 counties demonstrate their thankfulness and generosity by giving thousands of hours to local food pantries, hospitals and shelters.
On October 11, troops in Service Unit 678 and 680 united to organize the largest donation drive that Mission Southside has ever received. And it all started as a way to unite the various troops in Olathe, Kansas.
Senior Girl Scout, Ann Marie Hrdy, was reminiscing on her younger Girl Scout days and remembered how she used to go caroling for can goods with older Girl Scouts during the holiday season. This memory sparked an idea with her mom and Service Unit Leader, Chris Hrdy, to bring Girl Scouts, of all ages together to give back to their Olathe community.
Chris and Ann Marie talked with various troop leaders in their service unit, as well as with Nicole Williams, service unit manager for service unit 680, about different organizations that they could partner with. One troop leader suggested Mission Southside. Mission Southside is a nonprofit organization that serves families and individuals in need of food, toiletries and school supplies, in Johnson County.
Following the suggestion of the troop leader, Chris and Ann Mariemet with the leaders of Mission Southside to see if there was a potential for partnership. Ann Marie loved talking with those at Mission Southside, because she wants to learn what it’s like to work with different organizations as she prepares to work on her Gold Award project.
Troops from both service units came together and each decided what they could each bring do for Mission Southside. The younger troops hosted canned food drives in their elementary schools so they could collect as much food as possible while the older troops hosted a drive at Wal-Mart, handing out shopping lists to the patrons.
Ann Marie’s fond memory wasn’t lost, either. Her troop partnered with two younger troops to inform neighborhoods of their effort and go trick-or-treating for cans. Unfortunately, weather didn’t work out in their favor and they had a last minute change of plans that resulted in her troop taking leadership in the unfair weather conditions.
All the troops came together for the final collection on October 11, the most successful item drive that Mission Southside has ever seen.
Ann Marie hopes to further build a relationship with Mission Southside, whether it’s sorting the items that they collected, organizing another item drive or potentially working with them on her Gold Award project.
“It was a lot of fun and it was nice to get together with the community and give back to all the people who have gave to me since I was a younger girl. You can still be an older girl in Girl Scouts and still have fun, and be a big part of the community,” Ann Marie said.
Learn more about ways that your troop can give back by visiting the Community Programs section of our website!