Big Spring Girl Scout Troop 10510 is making Christmas a little more joyful for kids in the Newville area.
Now in its second year, the troop’s Collecting Cuz We Care campaign provides an assortment of gifts to middle and high school students in the Big Spring School District.
Troop leader Becky Kellert said the program is similar to one that collects gifts for underprivileged elementary school students.
“In Newville, we have a program called the Star Tree program for elementary age children in the Big Spring School District,” she said. “But we don’t have anything for the middle and high school kids, so we’re trying to change that. … Even though they’re teenagers, they’re still kids, and they should have a Christmas too.”
Last year, the troop collected items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hats and gloves. They also filled Christmas stockings with things like calendars, coloring books and colored pencils.
This year, the troop has plans to expand.
“We’re trying to get bigger,” she said. “We want to also get things that teenage kids would like to have — makeup, puzzles, gift cards, books, clothing.”
The gifts are all wrapped and taken to the middle and high schools, where counselors identify students who would benefit most.
“Everything remains confidential,” Kellert said. “We work with the school district, and the counselors pass everything out.”
Last year, gifts were distributed to 22 students.
Kellert said she has received positive feedback about the program.
“They were very thankful,” she said of the students who received gifts. “They were very happy, and that’s our goal — that if we help just one child, then we’ve accomplished something.
“Girl Scouts is all about bettering our community, and this is one way we can do that.”
There are six girls ages 8-15 in Troop 10510.
Kellert said their 2017 collection campaign got under way just two weeks ago, but donations are accepted throughout the year.
“They ask family and friends (for donations), and there are (collection) boxes set up for community donations,” she said.
Kellert has also distributed flyers that advertise the program and provide contact information for making donations.
A portion of the troop’s proceeds from bake sales, car washes, yard sales and other fundraisers also benefits the Collecting Cuz We Care campaign.
Kellert said she is impressed with her troop’s efforts to help others.
“They look forward to this (project),” she said. “They have friends who they knew were in need, and that’s why we started it. They are very passionate about it, and it’s something we want to continue to do.
“We have an amazing group of girls. They’re very generous. They’re very kind-hearted. I couldn’t be prouder of each one of them.”
To make a donation, contact Kellert at 414-0197. Donations may also be dropped off at Goody’s Unlimited on North Hanover Street in Carlisle.