This year Girl Guides of Canada introduced a new National Service Project focusing on poverty and its effects. The objective of the program was to take the stigma out of poverty and show that the Girl Guides themselves can make an impact in the community. There were three options for participation:
- Knit and donate hats, scarves and gloves to keep someone warm
- Get involved in a local cause with a community organization
- Create and donate kits containing essential items for groups working directly with people living in poverty
After a discussion with my Co-Guiders, it was decided that the second option would work best for our unit. I first started thinking about this activity in December, so it was a bit last minute to join holiday-themed projects. I did some research in the community and came up with Daily Bread Food Bank’s Public Sort Weekends.
Overall, sorting food for Daily Bread Food Bank was a great experience for us. The Girls just finished collecting non-perishable food items at school, so now they have a chance to see what happens to their donations afterwards. At the Food Bank, the staff were very friendly and even mentioned that the Unit was especially diligent in their task. The station was set-up very efficiently, so it was easy for the Girls to understand: take food out of the bins and group them into boxed categories. In the end, the staff told us that we sorted 1800+ lbs in food! The Girls all had proud smiles of satisfaction on their faces when we left the facility. I would highly recommend sorting food at a food bank as child-friendly Be Involved in Your Community challenge / Supporting Your Community service project. We are all looking forward to our next service project in spring.
A few notes about the Action on Poverty Instant Meeting:
- For the starter activity, I only asked for 3 words on sticky notes related to poverty as a simplified alternative to making a collage. After assessing the results, my unit had a very loose image of what it meant to be poor. In hindsight, I would have done this exercise after Factors Leading to Poverty.
- As a follow-up to this service project, I’m going to look for an organization that distributes food items to the consumers and see if we can bring them in as a guest speaker. Then, the Girls can get a full understanding of the food bank’s role in the community.