MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Girl Scout Troop 20245 completed a monthlong service project, collecting more than 4,000 travel-size toiletries and assembling more than 230 kits for Bridges Outreach, a Summit-based nonprofit organization that provides food, clothing and basic necessities to thousands of homeless people in New York City, Newark and Irvington. The kits included items such as shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, lotion and deodorant.
The troop is composed of 12 fourth-grade girls from South Orange and Maplewood, who all attend Jefferson Elementary School. The girls reached out to scores of local residents and friends for donations, and organized a collection day at Rite Aid in South Orange. With the help of a troop mom, they also posted their toiletry drive on local community discussion boards. On Friday, Nov. 20, the girls assembled the kits, and personalized them with stickers and notes.
“When girls give back to their communities, they learn things like compassion, community service and the impact they have on other people,” Diane Esty, community engagement specialist for Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey, said in a release. “We love to see our girls prioritizing the needs of others, and this troop has demonstrated the spirit of what it means to be a Girl Scout.”
“This project will help us continue our commitment to those on the streets by providing them with access to toiletry items they wouldn’t normally be able to afford,” Dan RosenHanst, director of operations for Bridges, said.
“All of the girls were incredibly engaged and earnest in their efforts,” troop mom Tara Ragone, who organized the service project, said. “They were very proactive, canvassing neighborhoods for donations and putting personal touches on notes to include in the kits.”