So if you were a Girl Scout in Morristown this year, you’ve probably participated in the year long hunger awareness and healthy eating community service project called Nourish: mind+self+community. More than 500 of the approximately 725 scouts in the Morristown area participated.
The goal was to increase awareness at every level, from the youngest Daisies through high school Ambassador scouts, about the food challenges faced by members of our schools and the community at large. About 28.2 % of Morristown students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and many families in our neighborhoods faced with job losses or underemployment turn to the Interfaith Food Pantry for help.
Morristown Service Unit Manager Lisa Kelly had an idea… a big one. To address this issue and to create a project meaningful to the girls and the community at large, she created the NOURISH project. The goal was for the girls to discover what hunger and nutrition means to individuals and our community at large (mind), to connect in a personal way (self), and then take action (community). They were challenged by Kelly and their leaders to collect 100 lbs. of food for each of the 100 years of Girl Scouting – A Centennial Celebration of Community Impact.
Not unlike the scouts of the decades before, the girls took part in farm aid programs, grew victory gardens or packed supplies for soldiers overseas, or called for action in support of the environment. It is a continuation of the spectrum of scouting linked intimately with service.
The Morristown Service Unit reached out to four main partners: the Interfaith Food Pantry, the Community Soup Kitchen, America’s Grow a Row and Grow it Green Morristown. Leaders were introduced to these partners and to the various activities in which they could involve their scouts. The charge to leaders was simple: find three age appropriate and meaningful activities that would nourish their mind, self and community.
So during the course of the year, Girl Scouts in Morristown:
• Made hundred of seed packets for the seed collection and redistribution activities of Grow It Green. Many troops visited the garden and learned about healthy eating, gardening, plants and bugs. Other troops are building birdhouses and feeders.
• Collected and assembled 465 “breakfast in a bag” kits for the guests of the Community Soup Kitchen, (approximately 767 lbs of food)
• Some troops collected items for the Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. Others collected hats and gloves for guests. Some made decorations and centerpieces for the Community Soup Kitchen and Market Street Mission.
• At the Interfaith Food Pantry, troops toured the facility and volunteered there, sorting and repackaging food. With school based drives and a one-day, community-wide drive at six supermarket locations they collected and donated 8,545 pounds of food to the agency.
• They created holiday baskets for those in need and elderly.
• Participated in a gleaning project with America’s Grow a Row and the Farmers Against Hunger – collecting 3,700 lbs of apples for distribution to food pantries around the state.
• Baked cookies for emergency room patients at Morristown Memorial Hospital and for soldiers. They also sent 3,500 boxes of cookies overseas.
• Created and implemented Bronze, Silver, Journey and Leader in Action projects around the theme, giving back to the community and to other younger scouts.
• Many troops focused attention on healthier snacks at meetings, learning about nutrition and healthy choices.
• They logged on to Freerice.com. (A program of the United Nations World Hunger Program) to learn and give.
To date, the girls have collected and distributed nearly 16,000 pounds of food to help their neighbors in need. Last year Girl Scouts USA launched a campaign asking “What did you do today?” If you ask a Morristown GS they could answer – I MADE A DIFFERENCE – A BIG ONE!
Girl Scout Troop 457 of Normandy Park School donated over 200 jars of peanut butter and jelly to the Interfaith Food Pantry
Troop 2070 collects food outside Kings Supermarkets in Morristown.
Four Morristown Troops, from Daisies to Cadettes gathered together at Sussex Avenue School in Morristown to assemble “breakfast bags” for the Community Soup Kitchen.