BETHLEHEM One reason kids look forward to a birthday is taking in a haul of presents. But for the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, a local troop got into the giving spirit instead.
As a special service project to honor Girl Scout’s founder Juliette Gordon Low, members of Bethlehem’s Junior Girl Scout Troop 1546 made it their mission to collect 100 winter coats to donate them to local charitable organizations. The girls’ youth service organization was started in 1912, one year after scouting began in the United Kingdom, and was originally called the Girl Guides of America.
“Since the founding idea was to bring girls together, we thought teamwork was the perfect focus for our scout year,” said Troop Leader Michelle Heffernan. The idea to collect coats as a service project was meant to get the girls more involved in their community, and was one of many ideas offered to leaders by the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York.
The troop began its coat drive on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and have so far collected 127 coats, along with hats, gloves and scarves. The girls set up collection boxes, but also asked around within their own families and neighborhoods for donations.
“I walked around my neighborhood and one of the girls in our troop got them from her sports team. I also donated some of my family’s gently used coats,” said Julia Harvey, 9.
“She has a ton of family members,” offered another scout.
The coats collected came in a wide range of sizes, but most were for women, since a majority of the items will be donated to Mercy House, a women’s shelter in the City of Albany. An additional 15 coats were given to the Bethlehem Food Pantry for specific families in need. The scouts also assembled two “birthday boxes” for the pantrythat have all the supplies needed to hold a child’s birthday party in one box.