By Mandi Lopez
Editor’s Note: If your Girl Scouts club had $427 that you didn’t spend on activities this year because of the COVID-19 restrictions, would you spend it on toys to make Christmas bright for children in need? That’s what Cadette Girl Scout Troop #15012 did, with the support of their troop leaders, Mandi Lopez and Alicia Potes. The troop consists of six girls ages 11 to 13 living in Soquel, Capitola and Aptos, and they are open to more members.
As you know, this year has been challenging because of this COVID pandemic; but we have still made it happen, just in a very different way.
We may only have six girls in our troop this year, but they are the most loving and biggest-hearted girls I know. Every year, as a troop we select what and how we spend the hard-earned money they earn from the previous year’s cookie sales.
This year with the elections happening, we took full advantage of teaching them the women’s roles and the importance of voting and having a voice. We then took a vote on who we wanted to donate to this holiday season. It was unanimous.
They all agreed to donate to a local organization named Santa Cops.
Santa Cops is a nonprofit consisting of representatives of Santa Cruz Police Department and surrounding areas. Santa Cops provides toys for children in need in the Santa Cruz area to enhance the relationship between children and law enforcement within our communities for Christmas and throughout the year.
These are children who come from all walks of life and differing circumstances, but all are faced with limitations in their homes.
Children need to experience officers as caring people who are willing to provide positive support. Each Christmas season, our officers personally deliver these presents to the children of the families who apply.
This year, with COVID-19 hitting on top of normal holiday struggles, Santa Cops was able to help about 65 families.
It took a night to Zoom together to hold our monthly meeting and then close with virtually shopping as a troop.
Each girl picked out several items, choosing a total of 40 gifts with a wide age span, from Barbies and Hotwheels 5-packs to slime kits, kinetic sand, Mrs. Potato Head, board games, coloring books, baby dolls, card games, stepping stone kits, stuffed animals, sticker book, art supplies, modeling clay.
About $300 was spent on toys, $62 on brand-new jackets for fire survivors, $35 for new bath towels for the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter (which we heard they needed) and $30 to Meals on Wheels.
The Girl Scouts troop got an appointment to drop off the toys at the Santa Cruz Police Department, where Community Service Officer Sergio Orozco, Lieutenant Carter Jones, & Community Service Officer Catherine Brothers were there to receive these gifts with open arms.
Thank you Santa Cruz Police Department for making this unforgettable moment possible for our entire troop !
We could not be more proud of our troop and their giving hearts and selflessness.
To learn about how to join a Girl Scouts troop in your community, see www.girlscoutsccc.org or call 1-800-822-2427.