Girl Scouts lend a hand to those in need

The Indian Mills Girl Scout Troop No. 24709 have their eyes, and hearts, set on silver as they have completed and were awarded their Bronze Awards.

The Indian Mills Girl Scouts have been busy helping those in need.

Indian Mill Girl Scout Troop No. 24709 recently picked up sewing skills to create heavy-duty blankets for the homeless by repurposing sterilization wraps from hospitals. The girls conceived of the plan after one of their troop leaders, who is also an operating room nurse, said surgeons and nurses throw out the wraps, which are originally used to keep surgical tools sterile before procedures.

They are wrapped around surgical equipment and they’re extremely clean, as the instruments have never been used, and (nurses and doctors) open them up, then throw (the wraps) away,” Mindy McKeown, troop co-leader, said. “We thought it would be perfect and we’d put elastic on it to roll it up.

To create the blankets, the girls stitched together two wraps with a sewing machine, back-to-back, and then attached an elastic band to make it easier for people to carry around.

Altogether, the 11 Scouts made 15 blankets to donate to an organization supporting the homeless. McKeown said the troop does not know which organization received the repurposed wraps.

Catell’s Sew and Vac donated its space and machines to the girls to help them create the blankets — and to teach them sewing skills.

All 11 girls were awarded their Bronze Award for the project — but they didn’t stop there. On Nov. 23, the troop members organized non-perishable goods purchased from proceeds raised during its May Fun Run at Indian Mills Memorial School. The food benefited St. Vincent De Paul food pantry at Holy Eucharist Parish. Girl Scouts, Seneca High School’s football team and other volunteers spent time at the church bagging items to provide full Thanksgiving meals to local families.

We brought boxes of mashed potatoes, two cases of macaroni and cheese, and we spent all of the money raised on food,” McKeown said. “Everything that’s not used for families will go into St. Vincent De Paul’s food pantry that they run all of the time out of the church.

As they packed bags for hours on Nov. 23, the Scouts said they felt they were serving as an extension of the community by helping the less fortunate.

I feel like I can help out more with the Girl Scout troop, and I feel like I’m a part of the community more,” Scout Kaleigh Everman said. 

Scouts hope to do more fundraisers in the future for those in need, which will help prepare them for their Silver Awards. McKeown said Scouts need to earn this award by the time they reach eighth grade.

A lot of troops do their own fundraisers with poinsettias and stuff like that, which we’d like to do, but we don’t know what to do exactly,” she said.

The girls hope to do more projects in the community to interact with people whom they may not typically meet, such as domestic violence survivors.

“You need to open up and realize what other people are going through,” Scout Nora McNamara said.