Sarah Rogers, from Milan, Illinois, has achieved the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve, by creating a fresh produce program for her local food pantry.
“Food pantries don't always have fresh produce to give,” says Sarah. “I wanted to help the food pantry be able to provide more produce to families in need by reaching out to community members with too much produce, maximizing the produce grown and its effect in our community.”
The Gold Award Girl Scout took action by planting a garden specifically for the food pantry and encouraging the community to donate excess produce to the new program. She traveled around her community to spread the word and collected more than 200 pounds of produce. She also created the Milan Christian Food Pantry Facebook page to establish a network for those who are food insecure and those with produce to giveaway.
Several families have agreed to continue to donate fresh produce, sustaining her program for years to come.
“There was much support for the project, and many people saying that they would donate their produce in the future,” says the Gold Award Girl Scout. “People are willing to help others, and it doesn't take much to bring a smile to someone's face.”
How long have you been a Girl Scout?
What inspired your Gold Award project?
My family always plants a large garden, but we also always end up wasting so much produce because we can't use it all. I wanted to find a way that we could be a benefit to the community while also reaching out to people with the same dilemma. After much consideration and several phone calls with local food pantries, my project started to become less of a thought and more of a reality.
What do you love about Girl Scouting?
There's always something to be doing, and it promotes a sense of community with any project you do. Not only that, but you're more than a troop of Girl Scouts, you become more of a family the longer you're Scouts together.
What role has Girl Scouts played in your life?
It's more than just an extracurricular at this point. Girl Scouts has given and taught me so much about the necessity of community and the idea that girls don't all fit in a single stereotype. There's so much to a Girl Scout than just her troop and accomplishments on the outside, it's her character and determination on the inside as well. Girl Scouts has taught me not to be afraid of the unthinkable, that it's okay to get out of your comfort zone. It's something that I will never lose, no matter what happens in my life.
What is your next step after earning your Gold Award?
My Gold Award project was a step for me. It's not just earning my Gold Award and I'm done. There's so many other opportunities in my community that I can look into helping with, and so much to learn. I will always strive to give back to my community, to help those who struggle to provide for themselves. It's what a Girl Scout does, it's what we promise to do at every meeting. "On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law." I take pride in those words, and I take pride in the work I've done as a Girl Scout.
Learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award and the steps to achieve this distinguished honor.