Manhattan Girl Scouts respond in time of crisis, need
By Erin Gallagher Correspondent November 23, 2013 9:31PM
Manhattan Girl Scouts Service Unit, made up of 115 girls from kindergarten through high school, have already gathered relief supplies to fill several garages. | Supplied
Updated: December 25, 2013 6:38AM
The power of Facebook and 115 determined Manhattan Girl Scouts already have gathered several garages full of donations for Nov. 17’s tornado victims.
“We have received an overwhelming response,” said Cheryl Vlach, leader of troop 70196.
Vlach and other troop leaders that make up the entire Manhattan Girl Scouts Service Unit have been posting requests on their personal Facebook pages. They, along with the girls’ parents, also are using the local Facebook group page, called Manhappenin’s, to get the word out.
“It’s a powerful tool that can be used for good or bad,” Vlach said.
In this case, Facebook has brought people together. David Stepanek posted on Manhappenin’s a photo of his pickup truck towing a camper filled with donations from the Girl Scouts, who range from kindergarten through high school.
Manhattan families’ needs were addressed first. Now, the donations will go to Diamond and Coal City and anything left over will head down to Washington, Ill., Vlach said.
Troop leaders are using the Diamond Tornado Victims Help Page on Facebook to collect donations of what is needed.
The first 24 hours, they collected so much clothing that they stopped. Now, the key wish list items are gift cards to stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot. A lot of the immediate needs are being filled, Vlach said. Now, they are focusing on longer-term impact.
Victims need apartments and temporary housing but can’t take much with them.
With the holidays coming, many families may likely feel grateful they have their families with them, she said.
“On the other hand, they will probably be a little out of place not being in their home and able to celebrate as they typically do,” she said.
Items can be dropped off at Hawk Fitness and Manhattan Family Chiropractor. Both are located in the strip mall at the intersection of Manhattan-Monee Road and Illinois 52.
Requested items include bleach, mops, sponges, school supplies, toys, garbage bags and non-perishable food items. Also, lunch items are needed for kids and volunteers, such as brown paper bags, chips, snacks and juice boxes.