There are 2,500 Girl Scouts in the North Bay area. 62 Girl Scout families lost homes in the Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino County fires. It will take years to recover, but hopefully their burden will be lessened a little through the love being shared by their Girl Scout sisters and broader community. The local Girl Scout office in Santa Rosa was, thankfully, spared from the destruction of the devastating Mark West/Larkfield area.
Michelle Covington, the leader for Girl Scout Troop 10132 has spent years fundraising in Sonoma County, yet feels she has not experienced the true meaning of philanthropy until she saw her community (and so many others) rally together in support of each other after the fires. Every time her troop received a card, letter, box of donations, or any loving act of kindness, her heart was filled with gratitude for the Girl Scouts and for humanity as a whole.
She was astounded and brought to joyful tears on numerous occasions in the last several weeks by the outpouring of support for and within the Girl Scout organization. She shared with us some of the amazingly heartwarming experiences that moved her:
- One troop designed a patch with the slogan, "The love in the air is thicker than the smoke" that's forever etched in all our brains. These are being given to Girl Scouts who have, in some way, helped with disaster recovery.
- After being closed for weeks, the staff at the Girl Scout office in Santa Rosa came together on their first day back in the office and made "kindness" rocks. The rocks are painted with messages of faith, hope, and love and then placed all over the property for people to happen upon, take, and redistribute throughout the community for others to happen upon. My daughter, a 5th year Girl Scout, found one that she felt compelled to bring to my best friend's burned up property off Riebli Road. The rock had "Hope" painted on one side and "Faith" painted on the other.
- One troop organized a First Responder “thank you” card effort for more than 400 police stations, fire houses, and National Guard posts.
- And one troop leader in Redondo Beach, with family history in Sonoma County, inspired her troop and other troops in Southern California to collect boxes and boxes and boxes of donations: gift cards, backpacks & supplies, books, Christmas stockings, toiletries, Barbie dolls, and so much more that are being distributed to Girl Scouts who lost all possessions. She also contacted Mattel, asking for Barbie doll donations to send to girls.
- Another troop from Southern California wrote a jump rope song and held a print making class to raise money so they could buy gift cards to send along to their fellow Girl Scouts.
- Good Samaritans and troops from Sonoma, Marin County, and all across the United States have sent donations of gift cards, hair brushes, make up bags, art supplies, and more.
- The GSNorCal Opportunity Fund has been utilizing cash donations to provide a replacement Girl Scout vest to any girl affected by the fires.
- Girl Scout Alumnae have organized a fundraising effort to replace any and all vintage vests, patches, pins, and awards that were lost in the fires, no matter how many years ago the girl earned it.
- The GSNorCal staff organized an Adopt-A-Girl Scout Family holiday giving tree for each member of the fire-impacted Girl Scout's household.
- Many troops selling nuts and candy products this fall have given their proceeds to Girl Scouts or community fire relief funds. One troop voted to donate all of their fall sale product proceeds, amounting to over $500.
- One troop decorated pillowcases with words like “Love” and “Beautiful” then filled them with socks, toothbrushes, games, stuffed animals, and other comforting items.
Sister troops all across the country, and many in Southern California, have been a tremendous source of support for the Girl Scouting community in Northern California. Michelle as well as the other Girl Scouts in the affected areas have been touched by everyone's generosity. The donations of the handmade cards, backpacks, Barbie dolls, books, gift cards, are all being distributed to Girl Scouts who lost their homes in the Northern California fires. And if your Girl Scout needs support, please reach out to us.
Our hearts are with our sister Girl Scouts. Now, it’s our turn to reach out to you and hope and send positive vibes that the fires in Southern California end soon.