5th grade Girl Scouts help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria

By Girl Scout Troop #23134

South Loop’s 5th Grade Junior Girl Scout troop 23134 achieved our Bronze Award this year.  The Bronze Award is the highest award a Junior can earn and is a “girl led” community  project.  Troop 23134 spent time researching possible options for their project and decided on Puerto Rico hurricane relief.  One of our troop leaders, Jennifer Rakstad (Aimee Boone is co-leader), lived and worked in Puerto Rico as a judicial law clerk, and was able to connect the troop with a Puerto Rican Girl Scout troop.  We spoke (via FaceTime) to people on the island about the impact of Hurricane Maria, performed research, and corresponded with a local Girl Scout Troop.  We were very moved by the situation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and chose this as our Bronze Award project and would like to “spread the word” about our work here.

After Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, lashing the island with strong winds and water, millions of Puerto Rican citizens suffered.   Most of the island lost power and water, and most of the crops on the island were destroyed.  This meant no school for the children.  Most people on the island did not have their own generators, so they remained without power and water for several months.  There were also issues on the island with getting water, food and supplies to people after bridges broke in rural areas.  The island was impacted in many ways – tourism drastically declined which meant the island wasn’t receiving tourist dollars.  Tourist attractions like El Yunque (a rainforest) were closed and the island lacked basic necessities, so people did not want to visit.  People’s homes were destroyed and not being rebuilt, and it was not until just recently that many services were restored.

Our troop connected with two troops from the San Juan, Puerto Rico area.  They shared with us how they were impacted by the hurricane.  They had missed months of school and – shocking to us– had no wifi!  They were not able to sell Girl Scout cookies this year, so we sent them a case of their favorite cookies with notes that included positive affirmations.  We became pen pals with the girls in the troop and are writing back and forth.  We are also joining them in creating emergency backpacks of medical supplies for families on the island.  Our troop did a supply drive this spring and will be sending the supplies to the island.

We want to thank everyone for donating to our drive.  We will be using money from our cookie sales to pay for shipping.  We collected the following supplies:

·       32 containers of Band Aids

·       17 rolls of medical tape

·       20 boxes of gauze pads

·       5 tubes of first aid cream

·       10 boxes of medical masks

·       2 bottles of first aid solution

·       2 containers of eye wash

·       15 bottles of hydrogen peroxide

·       9 bottles of rubbing alcohol and a large pack of alcohol swabs

·       7 boxes of sanitary napkins

·       24 packets of antacids

·       15 boxes of allergy medicine

·       28 containers of Tylenol/ibuprofen

·       10 packages of anti-diarrheal medication

·       7 boxes of surgical sponges

·        5 boxes of medical towels

Thanks for helping us support our friends in Puerto Rico!