Late in the afternoon of August 2, just as massive thunderstorms loomed, Raven and Lyndsey arrived at the Bridge with two cars filled to brim with donations. “We were shocked by the sheer volume of donation materials they had with them,” noted Amanda Aronson, Director of Marketing & Communications for the Bridge. “The girls called many months prior to inquire about which items were most needed, but little did we know what was in store for us.”
Raven and Lyndsey had been researching organizations since the early days of 2016, and upon choosing the Bridge as the focus of their efforts, had begun working to retain materials to support the shelters run by the organization. Their work was part of their effort to earn the Silver Award from Girl Scout Troop 66126--the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. The Silver Award is designed to encourage girls to examine their community to identify ways in which they can make a lasting impact, and an impact they have made.
“We worked really hard,” the girls shared. “We raked two acres of leaves for money to use toward donations, ran a donation drive at the Plainville YMCA, and worked with Walmart to encourage shoppers to support the Bridge as they purchased things for themselves. We talked to countless people about how important the Bridge is in the region, and we were really touched by how generous people were. One woman even donated an entire shopping cart full of items!”
Their effort resulted in 48 carefully designed welcome bags, which will be given to girls when they arrive at shelters for assessment and respite. The girls in the Bridge’s care are referred through DCF, and many have been victims of tremendous trauma, including Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. Girls don’t arrive with much, so to have personalized bags filled with toiletries, snacks, slippers, and other items to give them upon arrival makes a stressful transition easier. Raven and Lyndsey also delivered boxes of food, flats of bottled water, cleaning supplies, and a significant amount of feminine products. Feminine products come out of the grocery budgets for the shelters, so the donation of those items is particularly important, as three of the shelters run by the Bridge are for girls.
“We are grateful to Raven and Lyndsey for choosing us as the focus of their work,” says Aronson. “Not only did they support our programming through their donations, they helped educate the community about the vital residential work we do, as well as the mental health services we offer throughout our region.”