Friday, October 4, 2013

Service Project: Bake Me Home

Last spring, we asked the girls in our troop to choose the service projects they would like to work on during their second year as Brownies.  We gave them several ideas and also allowed space for the girls to submit their own ideas.  I described the voting process in a previous post.  

My friend Mandy told me about an organization in Cincinnati called Bake Me Home.  "Bake Me Home was established in 2008 by then 7-year-old twin sisters, Amy and Emma Bushman, with help from their mom Alison...(they) perfected their original Bake Me Home Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for their (mason) jar, and added all the necessary baking supplies (bowl, pan, spoon, spatula, pot holder), including a Kroger gift card for butter and eggs (and a few other grocery items) to a tote bag for families in need...(they) serve people from 15 agencies (shelters, food pantries, and ProKids) in Hamilton, Clermont, Butler and Warren counties, and troops serving overseas.  In addition to the primary Tote Bag Program, Bake Me Home offers a Family Portrait Program, Bake Me BACK Home Program, and Bake It Forward Program."  Check out their website.  The 8-year-olds in our troop were inspired to see how these young ladies are serving others.  They are doing awesome work in our community!  

When the majority of our girls selected the option to "pack meals for hungry people" on our planning worksheet, we decided to schedule a session with Bake Me Home.  The girls were asked to bring a bag of Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips to donate to the organization.  We were scheduled to volunteer for an hour on a weekday after school.  Upon our arrival, they welcomed us with a plate of their Bake Me Home Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  

The girls were given name tags, and the rules were explained.  Emma, Amy, and Alison also told us their story and gave us a tour of their new building.  We pulled back our hair, and we were ready to start.  We were asked to wash our hands, scrubbing for 20 seconds under warm water.  Then we applied hand sanitizer to ensure our cleanliness before working with the ingredients.  

The girls made their way through the line, adding each ingredient to the mason jar with a scoop and a funnel.  Bake Me Home asks that three adults accompany groups with elementary-aged children.  Extra hands are helpful!


Once we had packed and added Bake Me Home labels to 36 jars, it was time to clean up.  Emma helped assign each girl a job.  They vacuumed the volunteer workroom, swept the lobby, boardroom, and kitchen floors, wiped counters and baseboards, and dried dishes.  We could have stayed much longer.    

We ordered the cutest "Got Cookies?" fun patch for this event from our Girl Scout Council Shop.  I imagine our troop and their families will continue to support this wonderful organization.  They are really "changing the world, one cookie at a time." 

I would like to close with one final note.  We have started working on the Celebrating Community badge.  To fulfill the first step, we chose to go on a flag hunt.  During our 20 minute drive to the Bake Me Home building, the girls watched for different flags we passed along the way.  The girls in my car spotted 58 flags. The girls in our co-leader's car counted 136 flags!  They saw a cemetery that the girls in my car happened to miss.  It was a fun challenge that fostered some friendly competition while allowing the girls to work together.  Thank you for reading!

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