Hurricane Relief: Sisters Helping Sisters

Specific Donation Requests from Girl Scout Councils

March 23, 2006

NEW YORK, N.Y.— Our hearts continue to go out to those affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma as well as the tornado that struck Indiana and Kentucky. We are in touch with councils and council personnel in all the affected areas, and will continue to keep you apprised of how they are faring.

Brownie Troop 1126, from Maplewood/South Orange, New Jersey, raised $758 from an October yard sale, complete with lemonade and baked goods stand, to help hurricane-affected Girl Scouts in Louisiana. The girls used some of the money to buy uniforms, supplies, and gift cards for the troop they adopted in Slidell, Louisiana. They also wrote letters and made cards and drawings for the troop. Above, troop members with holiday gifts for their adopted Girl Scouts.

In true Girl Scout fashion, every available person in Girl Scout councils that neighbor the areas affected by the hurricanes is doing everything possible to support evacuees seeking shelter, food, medical care, and relief. Below are the latest updates from the most affected councils and the specific donations they have requested:

Girl Scouts Louisiana East, in New Orleans, thanks all the troops and individuals who have shown such compassion and support for the survivors of the recent hurricanes. "Your generosity has touched our local girls, their troops, our volunteers, and in some instances our staff members who lost so much to Katrina."

At the current time, however, the council asks that troops and individuals suspend the donations of gift cards for girls and their families. The council received more than $2,000 in gift cards and is continuing to distribute them throughout the council. The council also asks that you please do not send any packages as it is unable to receive physical items (teddy bears, clothing, gift packages, etc.) due to the damage to the council office.

The council's Adopt-a-Troop program was an enormous success but it has ended due to the minimum number of troops in the council. If your troop has already signed up for the program and hasn't been matched, please be patient; troops are still forming and you will be contacted in the future. The council's focus is now on rebuilding its camping facilities to provide program, troop, resident and service unit camping for members. If you would like to help in the rebuilding of their camps, please consider a cash contribution to the "Save Our Camps" SOC fund. Please visit the council's Web site at www.gsle.org for more information.

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, centered in Houston, which received thousands of Katrina evacuees, closed its offices and facilities temporarily when the city evacuated in advance of Hurricane Rita. Of all areas in the council's jurisdiction, the Golden Triangle area and the area north of it in East Texas were hardest hit by Rita.

The council reports that the greatest need for hurricane survivors is gift cards from national chain stores (food, clothing, drug stores, etc., in increments of $10) so they can purchase essential items. Gas cards and phone cards are also needed. Girl Scouts may wish to purchase gift cards with funds from troop and group treasuries. The council requests that cards (with the amount of the card indicated) be sent by registered mail, return-receipt requested, to:

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council
Attn: Hurricane Relief
3110 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77098

The council will coordinate the distribution of cards.

Tombigbee Girl Scout Council in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, thanks all those who sent supplies and financial support. Through this support, girls who were evacuated from their home, losing most of what they own, have now found new friends by becoming members of the Tombigbee Girl Scout Council. The council has raised enough money to support these girls and is no longer in need of outside donations — and that is what Girl Scouting is all about.

Girl Scouts of Gulf Pines Council in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which is now operating out of its Hattiesburg and Meridian offices, and from a Gulfport Service Center, thanks its many sister Girl Scouts for all of their generous support. The response to the council's requests was wonderful and as a result, its need for donated items has now been met. The council is now starting to help other organizations, beginning with the United Way. Any troops that were planning to send goods to Hattiesburg are now asked to select another council in need to receive them.

Girl Scouts-Audubon Council in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is grateful for all the support from sister Girl Scouts across the county. At this time, the council asks that troops and individuals no longer send donations of program, badge and school supplies. The response to the council’s needs was overwhelming and as a result its need for donated items has been met. However, the council is accepting cash donations and gift cards from national chain stores to help purchase supplies for evacuees and activities. Donations should be sent to:

Girl Scouts Audubon Council
545 Colonial Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Girl Scouts of Louisiana-Pines to the Gulf, in Lafayette, Louisiana, has requested donations of badges, insignia, vests, and sashes for all age levels, as well as handbooks and Studio 2B materials, and cash donations. All donations should be sent to:

Girl Scouts of Louisiana-Pines to the Gulf
1720 Kaliste Saloom, Suite C-1
Lafayette, LA  70508-6140

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama, headquartered in Mobile, Ala., requests donations to help purchase supplies for program and troop start-up, and financial assistance for girls to attend service unit and council special events. The council aims to help troops in the hard-hit southern portion of Mobile County, and any displaced girls now in the council's area. Gift cards from major retailers and cash donations are requested to help purchase new undergarments and hygiene products. Donations should be sent to:

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama
3483 Springhill Ave.
Mobile, AL 36608-1522

Councils also ask that letters of encouragement and support are sent for girls from girls along with donations so that they are personalized from one girl to another. Knowing that people from everywhere in the country care about them has been a big boost for the children.

Because of the logistical issues of shipping food and clothing to the victims of the hurricane, all councils ask that you NOT send goods directly to affected areas. Instead, work with your local communities (including your local food pantry) to organize food drives so that local needs can be met and, to the extent local drives can support such an effort, they will organize large shipments to food banks in the affected areas.

Troop 3428 from Mount Laurel, New Jersey, sent 22 backpacks filled with school supplies and personal notes to sister Girl Scouts in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Councils also emphasize that donations be limited to those items specifically requested. These are what the councils truly need, and distribution and storage plans are in place for them.

As Girl Scouts of the USA receives recommendations or requests from other Girl Scout councils, we will provide them.

We all embrace the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita and are grateful for the generosity and commitment of all of our Girl Scouts providing support.