Troop 2929’s Sauk Prairie Food Pantry Project

This story is about troop 2929, a group of 8th graders from the Prairie du Sac school district. There are still 7 girls in this troop, whom are very active in scouts and in their community. They are a very strong group of girls and we are very proud of them. They have been volunteering on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. They inherited this volunteer project from two previous troops – #33 and #677.

About 12 years ago, the food pantry only had 2 distributions each month. In order to qualify for federal commodities, they were required to have 4 distributions each month. A joint effort between the girl scouts and a group of 4H kids made it possible for people to get twice as much food at the Sauk Prairie food pantry. We now have 2 younger troops in training to take over this responsibility.

That was just the background on this story. The real story started in November of 2008. On our normal 2nd Wednesday distribution, the shelves were very empty, and it has always been tradition that families receive a turkey for Thanksgiving, but that year, there were none. We were very disturbed by the lack of food. My daughter, Martina, was relentless about this fact. Every few days she would say, “Mom, we need to do something to raise money for the food pantry, what can the girl scouts to do help?” I would think a little, and then I would be busy with something else, and a couple days later, Martina would be in front of me again asking, “what are we going to do Mom?” It was now right before Thanksgiving and we were on our way to Church in Plain. In the car, Martina asked me again about it. As we were waiting for Church to start, I thought about it long and hard (and have to say it really was divine intervention).

My sisters and I have a tradition each year in early December that we bake Christmas cookies (about 10,000 of them) and divide them up and give them away.

People look forward to these goodies and I thought that maybe people would be willing to purchase plates of cookies as a donation to the food pantry. So after mass, I explained my idea to Martina. We would have a second baking weekend with the girl scouts and sell trays of cookies to help the food pantry. By the end of the day, we had an order form worked up, which we emailed to everyone we knew. The rest is history! We raised almost $5,000 that first year, and over $5,000 each of the next two years. Our goal was to put Turkeys on people’s tables for Thanksgiving. Well, we accomplished that plus that money also provided hams for Christmas, with a bit left over! All checks are written to the Food Pantry and all of the supplies are donated. People have been very generous in their giving!

This troop also helps coordinate events for the community. For instance, in December, they organize caroling trips to Maplewood and the Pines Assisted Living, via horse-drawn wagon rides. They also organize an annual camping trip for all Sauk Prairie Girl Scouts in June. Our troop is very adventurous and we are trying to encourage other troops to get out and enjoy the outdoors and try new things. Last summer at our camp-out, we took the girls to the Sauk Prairie Archery Club and allowed each girl to try shooting a bow. We have also been teaching girls how to cook in a box, how to cook in a garbage can, about Geo Caching and many more things. This June, a group camped out at Echo Valley near Blue Mounds. The younger girls slept in the house while the older girls slept in tents and tee pees. Each group prepared a meal for the other groups and participated in many other activities.

This troop has traveled to St. Louis, Macinac Island, went spalunking and slept over in a case in Tennessee. They are a hard working troop. They sell traditional girl scout items, run cookie booth sales, and also sell fruit and cotton candy at the Cow Chip throw each year, to earn extra funds to help them travel.

This year, the troop went zip-lining and scuba diving! We also try to mentor younger troops, whenever possible. In July, the girls answered questions for curious 5th graders, who wondered what it would be like to be in Middle School. The troop answered their questions, helping 5th graders feel more comfortable with the anticipation with their transition to Middle School in the fall.

The pictures below are of the girls cooking their spaghetti dinner for a community event. The kids had to eat dinner off the table! The next photo is of the troop holding baby chicks last spring at a troop meeting. They surrounded one of the girls in the troop who has been receiving cancer treatments. She is seen here holding one of the chicks!

Spaghetti Dinner
Spaghetti Dinner
Chick Day
Chick Day

On behalf of myself, Joyce Schoepp and all the girls from current and past troops, we would like to thank you for your support. The funds that you contribute to the Sauk Prairie Girl Scouts gives these girls many opportunities that they would not normally experience. It helps leaders as well by giving them opportunities to spend time with the girls. It also gives the girls an opportunity to mix with the other younger and older troops and to be able to learn from them!

Earth Day Project

Our local first grade Daisy girls painted three 55-gallon barrels (donated & prepped by Ballweg Family Dealerships), to “recycle” them into garbage/recycling cans for Earth Day. We talked to the girls about how Earth Day was helping to protect the Earth and to keep it clean. We had them think up things that they thought about when they think about nature. We gave them directions on how to brainstorm together in their team and paint what nature and earth represented to them. The barrels are being donated to the Villages of Sauk City, Prairie du Sac and the Town of West Point, which represent where all of the girls in the troop live!

Daisy Earth Day Project
Daisy Earth Day Project

Standing: Claire Thiede, Marissa Haselwander and Abby Dovin. Kneeling: Amelia Hunter, Helen Judge, Abby Kerl, Malea Niesen, Lauren Frey, Erin Tierney and Emma Kinnamon. Not pictured: Isabella Brickl, Ella Williams and Leaders Stephanie Judge and Laurie Kerl.

Standing: Claire Thiede, Marissa Haselwander and Abby Dovin. Kneeling: Amelia Hunter, Helen Judge, Abby  Kerl, Malea Niesen, Lauren Frey, Erin Tierney and Emma Kinnamon. Not pictured: Isabella Brickl, Ella Williams and Leaders Stephanie Judge and Laurie Kerl. Standing: Claire Thiede, Marissa Haselwander and Abby Dovin. Kneeling: Amelia Hunter, Helen Judge, Abby Kerl, Malea Niesen, Lauren Frey, Erin Tierney and Emma Kinnamon. Not pictured: Isabella Brickl, Ella Williams and Leaders Stephanie Judge and Laurie Kerl.

Tax break for charitable giving targeted

For the third consecutive year, the tax deduction for charitable giving is in some policymakers’ sights – and nonprofit officials fear, given the belt-tightening mood in Washington, this time could be the charm.

Nonprofits have stressed that, with governments around the country looking at ways to cut costs, giving incentives to charitable donations is now as important as ever.

But with President Obama proposing once more to curtail the deduction, as he did in 2009 and 2010, and lawmakers indicating that very little is not on the table when it comes to deficit reduction and corporate tax reform, officials in the nonprofit sector feel more on the defensive than they have in previous years.

“We’re actually in a circumstance right now where the question as to why this sector is valuable is going to be conflated with questions of, can the government invest in this?,” said Diana Aviv, the chief executive of Independent Sector, a trade organization for nonprofits. “Is this the best way to spend our dollars?”

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One Million Volunteer Mentors and Tutors

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships staff from the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) participated in the United Way Education Town Hall on March 31, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

United Way Worldwide President and CEO Brian Gallagher announced United Way’s commitment to recruit one million readers, tutors and mentors to enhance the education and lives of young people.

CNCS CEO Patrick Corvington talked about how education is a central priority for national service. “More than half of our funding goes to education,” said Corvington. “We make it possible for great nonprofits across the country to support tutors and mentors and school volunteers that reach three million disadvantaged youth each year.”

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