Breckenridge Texan

Local Girl Scouts learn hands-on about Hurricane Relief

Local Girl Scouts learn hands-on about Hurricane Relief
September 28
05:27 2017

When the members of Girl Scout Troop 8356 in Breckenridge worked on earning their Hurricane Harvey Relief patch recently, they earned more than just a patch for their uniforms; they learned firsthand what it means to help those who have suffered from a life-altering experience.

Troop leader Kim Fuller said when the girls saw all the coverage on the television news after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, they kept asking what they could do. She said they wanted to help somehow. So one night she took them to the Stephens County Courthouse where they helped Misty McAlmond and others sort items that had been donated to their donation drive for hurricane victims. But they wanted to do more.

“They kept saying, ‘What else can we do?’ and ‘We want to help kids,’” Fuller said.

The Scouts soon got their chance. Fuller said she heard about a family that had moved to Breckenridge after being displaced by Hurricane Harvey. So, she contacted Molly Johnson at the Breckenridge Independent School District and asked if they had any new students enrolled who had been displaced by the hurricane. Johnson told her there was already one family in Breckenridge and a second family was on the way.

“This one family thought, well they lived in an area that didn’t usually flood, so they didn’t take precautions,” Fuller said. “Basically, they went away for the weekend to get out of the area and walked away with what they could carry. So they absolutely had nothing.”

Fuller said the girls realized the families didn’t have anything. “That’s when the girls asked, ‘What can we do?’” she said.

So Johnson acted as a liaison to the families, for clothes sizes and genders of the children, so the Scouts could help out and maybe buy some clothes. Then, Fuller said, McAlmond, one of the women who spearheaded the community donation drive at the courthouse, heard about the troop’s project, So she donated some of money they had raised to buy items for the local families.

“And then we just basically went shopping for the students,” Fuller said.

After getting the information from Johnson about the kids’ sizes, Fuller took her troop to Walmart and picked out one outfit for each of the five students from the two families.

Fuller said other local organizations also help out. She said the BISD SHAC committee provided backpacks and all the school supplies the kids would need to enroll in school. The older boy in one of the families wanted to play in Little Bucks football, and they waived some fees for him; and one of the older girls wanted to play volleyball, and Johnson helped get some fees waived for her. .

Local business also helped out. The Vintage Butterfly donated decorative signs and jewelry for the older girls. The T Shirt Shop and MLR Graphics donated multiple shirts, including green spirit shirts and Pink Out shirts, for each of the five children enrolled in BISD.

She said the experience helped the Scouts to realize how fortunate they are. And, she said that they do realize how fortunate they are, especially when they watch the images from the hurricane damage on television and saw there are others suffering. She said they felt like there had to be something they could do.

“These girls never once asked who these kids are,” she said. “They don’t need to know who these kids are. They just needed to know that there are kids in our school system that needed help and they were able to provide the help.”

Fuller said in addition to using the money donated to them to purchase items for the families, the  troop also took some of their Girl Scout Cookie sales proceeds to purchase some additional items. She asked the girls where they like to go after school to go eat, what they consider a good treat. She said they chose a couple of restaurants in town and used some cookie money and the donated money to buy a gift cards for each family.

“This is a small scale,” Fuller said. “But, you know, we thought these people are coming into our community and they have chosen to have Breckenridge as their permanent home from now on, so let’s give them a kind of a welcome bag and welcome them into our community.”

In addition to being able to help their fellow students with their relief efforts, the Scouts also had to learn a great deal about hurricanes to earn their Hurricane Harvey Relief patch.

They had to go online and learn how hurricanes are formed, why they are formed and where they usually hit. What kind of impact a certain category of hurricane can leave.

They also researched the different organizations that do relief efforts. After their troop meeting, Fuller said, the girls went home and discussed what they learned at the meeting with their families. They worked with their families to devise their own family emergency plan in case of fire, flood or tornado. She said they were encouraged to create portable emergency boxes that can be taken quickly from their homes in case of an emergency evacuation.

And, finally, for the patch, they had to choose a way to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which they did by going to Walmart to choose one complete outfit and a fun family game for each of the five students, along with a few other fun items that the girls thought the two families would enjoy.

Fuller said the program helped the girls make the connection of how something like a storm can impact families. She said they talked about how during Hurricane Harvey, the wind and the rain didn’t actually hurt the families, it was the flooding afterwards that hurt, the water building up, dams and levees breaking.

She said they related that back to what happened here in Breckenridge last year with the overflowing of the creeks that flooded parts of the city.

“So they kind of understood,” she said. “On Monday, when it rained so hard, they were asking, ‘Is Breckenridge going to flood again?’ because they do remember all of this.”

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan


Cutline, top photo: Members of Girl Scout Troop 8356 display some of the items they helped purchase for kids displaced by Hurricane Harvey who are now living in and attending school in Breckenridge. On the front row, from left, are Kadee Crawford, 9; Bianca Gotschall, 9; Rihana Fuller, 7; Rachel Burchett, 7; Ruler Fuller, 8; Molly Johnson with BISD; and, on the back row, Victorian Gotschall, 11, and Kim Fuller, troop leader. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)




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