Girl Scout troop donates care packages for foster children

BUCHANAN – Wednesday evening, a group of Brownies in Girl Scout Troop 52020 presented a foster care supervisor from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with more than 100 bags filled with items for children entering the foster care system.

The troop donated Girl Scout cookies, stuffed animals and books, and used cookie sale funds to purchase bags, journals, pencils and more.

“Every year, the girls do donations. They come up with and brainstorm what they want to do with the donations and vote on it,” said the troop’s co-leader Becky Brisboe-Gleissner. “Out of all the times we have ever voted, this was the only unanimous one.”

The decision to donate Girl Scout cookies to children in foster care was an easy decision for the scouts, but they did not want to stop there.

“It snowballed from there that they were going to do a whole care pack, not just cookies,” Brisboe-Gleissner said.

Kim Celmer, foster care supervisor with MDHHS, came to the meeting to accept the donations and to speak with the scouts about what foster care was and who might be in foster care.

“In Berrien County right now, we have a little over 300 children in foster care. These care packs will go to kids as they get removed [from their homes],” Celmer said. “It’s really frightening, of course, when you have nothing on but your pajamas and it’s the middle of the night. You don’t always get to take your own toothbrush with you. It’s nice when they can take something of their own with them. A care package is still theirs.”

Celmer said the packages will help the children entering foster care to know that someone else thought about them.

Through her presentation to the scouts, Celmer answered questions and gave them an idea of what situations may lead to a child being placed in foster care.

At one point, Celmer asked the scouts which famous super hero was a foster child. One of the girls answered correctly on the first try: Superman.

“Superman is the most famous foster child we know,” Celmer said. “He came from another plant with no parents, and somebody here took care of him.”
She explained that with many children at their schools, there may be some students in foster care.

“You may not even know,” she said.

She told them if someone did confide in them they were in foster care, they should respect their peer’s privacy. Being a friend to their classmate could be very helpful for both of them.

“I can’t tell you how much [the children] will appreciate this,” Celmer said of the donated care packs.

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