Girl Scout Silver Award Project Helps Mattawan Food Pantry

MATTAWAN – The collection of more than 700 canned foods and personal care items earned Girl Scouts in Troop 90686 their Girl Scout Silver awards, and a big “thank you” from the Mattawan Food Pantry.

Janice Mikelsons, leader of the troop, said that her girls wanted to make sure their community service project benefitted the Mattawan community. They chose the food pantry after brainstorming different ideas.

“Every year Mattawan has a Pinewood Powder-puff Derby and we decided to create a scouting-based food drive with the Boy Scouts tied to the derby called Race to End Hunger,” Mikelsons said. “The Boy Scouts did their Pinewood Derby on March 9, and the girls did their derby on March 10.”

Both events took place at Mattawan Middle School.

Mikelsons said that the Pinewood and Powder-puff derbies take place back-to-back. She said it made sense for her troop of six girls, all of whom are in 7th grade, to recruit the Boy Scouts to help with the food drive, which they hope to make an annual event.

“It’s unique because we don’t often do things together,” Mikelsons said of the partnership with the Boy Scouts. “The derby is pretty unique because the Boy Scouts leave the track up for us. They come and do the timing. They have super-techno dads and the scores flash up on a screen to thousandths of a second.”
Members of Troop 90686 told Mikelsons they had fun, but were challenged because the food drive took them out of their comfort zone.

“They had to do a lot of marketing and planning,” Mikelsons said of her troop. “They had to contact the pantry and the school, and it pushed them out of their comfort zones. They had to talk to Mattawan area leaders, and they had a marketing campaign going on for that as well.”

“They used a lot of communication and marketing skills. They used written communications to develop flyers which they passed out to collect food.”