NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Girl Scouts, like many other activities, has looked very different in New Providence in 2020. However, the members of Service Unit 50 have found new ways to remain true to the Girl Scout Promise “...To help people at all times” despite the pandemic. Service Unit 50 encompasses Girl Scouts of all ages in New Providence and is a part of Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey. Led by Service Unit Manager Maria DeLuca, the Girl Scouts and their families have been partnering with local charitable organizations since the spring. During these difficult times, the pandemic is creating more need than ever right in our own community. With most families home from school and work Service Unit 50 looked to find opportunities to come together and create a meaningful impact with contactless charity drives. 

Starting in May the group began with a drive in partnership with Bridges, a local organization whose mission is to end homelessness through volunteer-driven outreach and individual case management. This drive collected individually wrapped snacks inside brown paper bags designed with colorful drawings and positive messages.  In total the group came together and donated 50 bags to be distributed to those in need.  

Then in November, Service Unit 50 ran two simultaneous Thanksgiving drives. The first again was in partnership with Bridges collecting 344 different cold weather supplies including hand warmers, chapstick, solar blankets, socks and more. In addition, the Girl Scouts participated in a drive benefiting St Teresa’s of Avila in Summit food pantry Loaves and Fishes. This drive collected 61 shelf stable holiday staples including stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, gravy and more. Additionally Troop 45205, Kindergarten Daisies from Allen W Roberts School, put together a special delivery including a whole turkey. “The Thanksgiving drive was an easy and elegant way to create a community service event for our troop,” said Tenica Peterfreund Troop 45205 co-leader. “Each of our girls donated one item to our group basket and felt so much pride in adding to another family’s Thanksgiving celebration.”

For the past 10 years, Service Unit 50 has organized the annual Giving Tree at the New Providence Memorial Library which benefits a local children’s charity. However due to Covid restrictions the Giving Tree project was unable to take place this year. Not wanting to miss out on the giving spirit of the holiday season, Service Unit 50 is partnering this year with FLAG of New Providence to collect items and put together care packages for the Front line workers at Overlook Medical Center and Trinitas Regional Medical Center. FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group) is an organization dedicated to helping our committed front line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This drive is being coordinated with FLAG of Berkeley Heights, FLAG of Summit and Mountainside Cares. Donations of lip balm, travel size hand and foot cream, compression socks, candy, individual facial sheets, face creams and cleansers along with $5 Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts gift cards are being collected. If you would like to join the effort, donations can be brought to Borough Hall by 12/7. Girl Scout Cadettes will assemble the packages. Monetary donations are also being accepted via Venmo @Nadine-Geoffroy. Questions about the care packages can be sent to FLAG of NP at FLAGNewProvidence@gmail.com. Questions or interest in Girl Scouts please email SU50GirlScouts@gmail.com