Ah, summer vacation is finally here. Things might look a little different this year for your Girl Scout in how she spends her summer, but it’s because of those differences that her community needs her now more than ever! Giving back during this extraordinary time of need is a fantastic way to keep busy and spirits high as she may be facing disappointment missing out on some typical summer fun activities.
GSSEF has coordinated two separate council-wide community service projects for her to channel her ingenuity and giving spirit from June through August of 2020. These two programs will help fulfill some of our community’s most basic needs: food and baby essentials. COVID-19 has hit our most vulnerable populations hard and left some who never thought they would be in need suddenly seeking assistance. Have your Girl Scout make the world a better place this summer by participating in Feeding Florida Together and the Summer Infant Supply Drive!
Bonus! Participation in either one of these initiatives will help her earn her Summer Funshine patch! Summer Funshine is a summer-long program where girls remain active as Girl Scouts by participating in activities and community service.
FEEDING FLORIDA TOGETHER
Food is one of the most basic human necessities, but food insecurity is unfortunately a threat far too many Americans face. More than 37 million Americans struggle with hunger. More than 11 million children live in food insecure homes and 1 in 7 children do not know where they will get their next meal. Nationwide, 5.5 million seniors struggle with hunger. Additionally, about 5.4 million households have reported being worried they will run out of food before they have enough money to purchase more.
Then there is the issue of food waste. Approximately 40% of all food produced in the United States is thrown away. That food could feed 25 million Americans in need and help bridge the gap to end hunger.
Your Girl Scout can use her problem-solving skills to collect food in any way she can dream up and then donate it to an organization who will distribute the food to those most in need in our communities. She can donate to any organization listed on our website or she can donate to any organization of her choice. She will just need to fill out the completion form once the donation has been made so she can earn her Feeding Florida Together patch*! If she has trouble determining what kinds of food to collect, she can use this flyer as a guide.
*Patches are limited to the first 1,500 GSSEF Girl Scouts who submit project completion forms.
SUMMER INFANT SUPPLY DRIVE
Our tiniest members of society require a lot of resources! Some parents, especially now, struggle to provide basic items such as diapers, formula, toiletries, and so much more. You may not think a family’s shortage of diapers is a contributor to some of our society’s greatest obstacles; however, families not having access to an adequate supply of diapers can create a ripple effect of problems.
A one-month’s supply of diapers for one baby can cost over $100 per month according to TheDiaperBank.org . This can be an impossible cost for a family already living in poverty. While there are many social programs available to families in need such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), they surprisingly do not cover diapers. The issue is even worse for parents who lack transportation as they often rely upon convenience stores within walking distance to purchase diapers which are often double or even triple the cost of those in a large retail store.
You may think this issue could be solved by using cloth diapers, but it is not that simple. Most daycare centers do not accept cloth diapers and require parents to provide a regular supply of disposable diapers. Also, many living in poverty do not have access to a private washer and dryer and thus rely on laundromats or shared laundry facilities. However, for sanitary purposes, cloth diapers are often prohibited from being washed in these settings.
Some low-income families have reported leaving a baby or toddler in one diaper for an entire day or longer to conserve their diaper supply. This can lead to serious health risks for the baby, impacting our public health as a whole. Additionally, if families cannot rely on free childcare because they do not have diapers to provide, they cannot go to work and must stay home to care for their babies. This of course has an impact on our economy and perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
Who knew something as simple as diapers could have such a huge impact on our communities?
Your Girl Scout can directly help families in need while indirectly improving public health and our local economy. She can begin by collecting essential baby supplies and then donating them to an organization which can distribute them to parents seeking assistance. Again, she can use our flyer to get some ideas of what to collect, and she can donate to an organization listed on our website or one of her choosing. After she donates, fill out the completion form so we can determine the impact our Girl Scouts are making in the community!
If participating in either of these initiatives, please adhere to all social distancing guidelines as set by the CDC and state and local governments. We want our Girl Scouts to stay safe!