04/09/14 — Local Girl Scouts provide baskets for local residents

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Local Girl Scouts provide baskets for local residents

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on April 9, 2014 1:46 PM

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Mary Grayce Outlaw, left, and Sydney Keesler give Pines resident Louise Dunmire an Easter basket filled with goodies.

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Pines resident Bill Johnson visits with Girl Scouts Noel Garris, left, and Cayleigh Summerlin.

Easter came early this year for residents of Emeritus at the Pines. Members of Girl Scout Troop 95 -- some dressed as little bunnies -- hopped around the assisted living facility delivering baskets full of Easter goodies recently.

A couple weeks earlier, the Daisies, Brownies, Juniors and Cadets collected 130 Easter baskets and all the goodies to go into them -- tissue, socks, washcloths, jelly beans, chocolate Easter eggs and mints for the baskets -- at their churches and schools and from friends and family.

The night before they took the Easter baskets to the Pines, the Brownies got together at Garris Chapel Church, where they normally hold meetings, and made brownies to add to the baskets.

"They made the brownies in cupcake liners and shaped them like eggs, then wrapped them," said troop co-leader Natalie Garris. "And they didn't eat any of the brownies. They got it all over themselves, but they didn't eat any. They had so much fun."

The project was headed up by three of the troop's juniors, who are trying to earn their Bronze Award. Part of the requirements is volunteer service.

They chose the Pines after Mrs. Garris was told about a letter that one of the residents had written to another.

"My friend's aunt lived there and actually gave one of the other ladies there a cough drop," she said. "It just touched her so much."

The lady wrote a thank-you letter to the friend's aunt, who kept it. The letter was read recently at her funeral.

"We had wanted to come out here to the Pines and do something, but that just gave us more incentive," Mrs. Garris said. "A lot of times, the people here don't have anything left and something as small as a cough drop can mean a whole lot."

That letter actually prompted the Girl Scouts to deliver 100 handmade Valentine's Day cards to the residents back in February. That experience touched the girls so much that they asked to go back with Easter baskets.

Linda Holden-Cox, a parent, said that for Valentine's Day, the girls went door to door at the Pines delivering the cards.

"One gentleman came to the door and the girls did the Girl Scout law and promise then gave him the card," she said. "And he just stood there and looked at them. At the end, he said, 'This is worth a million bucks,'"

Mrs. Garris said the Valentine's Day cards were well received by the residents, who wanted more, too. They also wanted hugs and songs.

"And they wanted to tell us stories about what they did when they were younger," she said. "They told us how much they enjoyed just getting something because some of them never get anything. Some don't see a lot of people either.

"After the girls saw that, it really spoke to them and they decided they wanted to go back so these people would have something to enjoy and look forward to."

One of those receiving a basket was 86-year-old Bill Johnson.

"It made me feel good because not all kids are bad, but that's what you read about, the bad ones," he said. "It's good the Girl Scouts do this. It's good for morale here. They gave me stuff that's going to help me, like toothpaste. Not too many people come in here like that and give us stuff. It's a special thing they did."

Louise Dunmire, 90, enjoyed the interaction with the girls.

"It made me feel good," she said. "Not very many people come here and do that for us. I want to thank them so much for coming."

Girl Scout Natalie Slye said the best part for her was just seeing the smiles on the faces of the residents.

"I can feel the joy that's coming from them," the 11-year-old said.

"They got the chance to feel they're loved," said 11-year-old Courtney Cox.

Mrs. Garris said the Pines project is a good way to help the girls realize that life is about helping others.

"They realized how important it is to go visit people who don't have grandchildren to go visit them. As a troop, we want to become more involved in the community so the girls understand that Girl Scouts is a whole lot more than selling cookies. It's about giving back to their community and realizing it's better to give than to receive."