By Catherine Amoriello
See Troops 30495 and 32924 in action in the video below!
The John Buck Memorial Community Food Bank in Columbia County was filled with holiday spirit on Dec. 8 as two local Girl Scout troops teamed up to donate and decorate a Christmas tree, as well as pack food bags, for the bank’s December giveaway on Dec. 10.
Two seniors from Troop 30495 and four Brownies from Troop 32924 donated a tree and adorned it with lights and handmade decorations for the food bank to put on display. On giveaway day, food bank clients were able to enter a raffle to win the tree and take it home with them.
“When we first started it and it was all new, you could just see clients’ faces light up knowing they could get that tree and take it home,” said Judy Bickel, administrator for the John Buck Memorial Community Food Bank. “It’s something they might not be able to afford and it’s an opportunity for them to have something they might not normally have.”
Girl Scout troops have been decorating and donating a tree to the food bank for the past five years, but this is the first year the Senior and Brownie troops participated in the project after getting involved with the food bank throughout 2022. After accepting Bickel’s offer to take on the project for the food bank, Senior troop leader Kelly Benn asked Brownie troop leader Angela Lannan if her younger girls wanted to participate as well.
“My Brownies were really excited to continue providing service in the community and enjoy both the work and the time with the older girls,” Lannan said.
After decorating the Christmas tree, the girls spent the remainder of the evening packing bags of canned goods and fresh fruit for the bank. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort as the girls, troop leaders, parents, and other volunteers joined in for an assembly-line style packing session.
Benn and Lannan view their troops’ time at the food bank as more than just a day of completing fun projects, but an opportunity to help their girls better understand the concept of food insecurity in the community. By getting their Girl Scouts hands-on experience at the food bank, they hope to show them the full process of getting food to community members in need.
“Building this understanding is helping the girls be more conscientious both about food waste and about ways that they can support others within the community,” Lannan said.
“I think it is important for the girls to see real people who need help,” Benn said. “It’s easy to be dismissive of an issue you can’t truly visualize. They are helping and seeing those results firsthand in their communities.”