Girl Scouts Help Feed Florida

Girl Scouts from Troop 10759 in Weston were among the 137 troops across South Florida taking part in Feeding Florida Together, a council-wide community service project. Each spring, troops from six counties, making up Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, host food drives in their local communities and deliver the non-perishable food to partner organizations working to battle hunger. Troop 10759 donated 130 pounds of food to Feeding South Florida in Pembroke Park.

As impressive as that is, what’s even more remarkable is that Feeding Florida Together began right here in Weston. In 2004, Erica Blonde organized a huge county-wide food drive as part of her Silver Award project. At the time, she was a Cadette Scout attending Tequesta Trace Middle School.

“My Girl Scout troop had gone for a service activity at a food pantry in Fort Lauderdale,” explains Blonde, who is now co-leader of a Cadette troop in Boston. “I remember the staff explaining how the pantry’s slowest months were in the spring, after the holidays. It really saddened me, thinking about how people who depended on those services would feel after the season of giving was over. I wanted to find a way to help fill the gap.”

Blonde created Feeding Broward Together. With generous donations from the Weston community, she was able to collect about 8,000 pounds of food for the Cooperative Feeding Program. Eventually, Blonde’s project grew so large, and had such a profound impact on the community, that Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida decided to adopt it, changing the name to Feeding Florida Together.

Since 2009, it has been responsible for the donation of more than five million pounds of food to local food pantries. This year, Girl Scouts collected more than 15,800 pounds of food and distributed it to 44 different organizations. In Broward County alone, 735 Girl Scouts in 65 different troops gathered over 4,600 pounds of food.

Blonde says she is awed by how her project has grown into such an enormous force thanks to Girl Scouts. “It makes me really proud of our Girl Scouts, to see them working together to help others. Helping others is fundamental to the Girl Scout Promise and Law. I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without Girl Scouts. I am just grateful.”

She is also appreciative of the opportunity to grow up in Weston and this community’s support of her Silver Award project. “I remember placing collection bins throughout Weston, at churches, libraries and businesses. Everyone was incredibly supportive, which gave me the encouragement that I needed to keep growing the project. To leave this kind of legacy feels very special.”