Girl Scout Troop 1857 members Sophia Henderson, Morgan Peters, and Addy Doerman have completed their Bronze Award project, building a Little Free Pantry on the grounds of Faith United Methodist Church, 1950 SW Eagles Parkway, Grain Valley.
Similar to Little Free Libraries, the Little Free Pantry provides an opportunity for anyone to stop by and take what they need or leave food or toiletry items for others. The pantry is stocked with a variety of canned and packaged food and snacks, and toiletry items.
"We tried to make sure all of the canned goods are pop-tops, and there are lots of snack items for people who may not have can openers," Henderson said.
The girls began the project in May, seeking advice from community leaders such as Mayor Mike Todd, and the volunteers at the Grain Valley Assistance Council. They spent months finalizing their design and working with their parents and grandparents to build and place the pantry at the site provided by Faith United Methodist Church. Doerman's grandmother and others helped provide the initial supply of food and toiletries for the pantry.
The girls raised money to pay for building supplies, and will take turns ensuring the pantry is stocked. They've also thought about how the project will be sustained after they have concluded their time with the project, perhaps passing it down to a younger troop who is working on their own Bronze Award.
"When we get out of 8th grade, we could pass it on to a Brownie troop or a Daisy troop, and they can pick it up while they are working on their own Bronze award," Doerman explained.
Parent volunteer Felicia Bergan said Faith United Methodist Church has been a great partner in the process. When the group was looking for an ideal site for their pantry, Faith UMC was suggested as an ideal site given their location and community-based plans they have at their site.
"So, I contacted Pastor Mike, and in 48 hours, he's like 'The whole church approved your plan, you're good.' They're looking at doing a lot of cool community stuff on their land, and this project fit well with their plans. He's (Pastor Mike Cassidy) just been phenomenal. He came out while we were building last weekend, checked on us, and praised the girls. The whole church has been awesome and has been a great partner with us."
Donations of unused, unexpired food items and toiletries are welcome and may be left inside the pantry box, and anyone is welcome to take what they need.
The girls are already discussing ideas for their Silver Award projects, and may expand the pantry box concept to meet other community needs.
"Girl Scouts are way more than just cookies," Peters said.
Girl Scouts Troop 1857 members (left to right) Sophia Henderson, Morgan Peters, and Addy Doerman have completed their Bronze Award project, building a Little Free Pantry on the grounds of Faith United Methodist Church, 1950 SW Eagles Parkway, Grain Valley. All are welcome to take what they need or leave food or toiletry donations for others.
Photo credit: Valley News staff