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Local Girl Scouts provide gifts, holiday party for children in Richmond

Wish lists of 43 families fulfilled at community center event

Girl Scouts from Pleasanton, Dublin and Sunol are providing crafts, gifts and other holiday treats for children in Richmond.

Local Girl Scouts have provided a party for foster children and needy children for the past eight years. But when they heard that children in Richmond needed help, they contacted the Girl Scout Corps, a newly-formed program with the Girl Scouts of Northern California.

Toni Aclaro, director of the Girl Scout Corps, obtained a wish list for the 43 families involved and made arrangements to use the community center in Richmond.

The Girl Scout troops of Crossroads Service Unit took the program on with full gusto. Troops stepped forward and adopted all the children, providing each child with two gifts from their wish lists. Troops also adopted a family and provided $20 grocery gift cards for a holiday meal.

All the items were dropped off and accounted for by Fiona Parken, whose front room looked like Santa's workshop as the piles grew during the season. The Service Unit also agreed to pay all expenses of the party so that all children attended for free. Socks filled with candy were provided with some of this funding.

Individual volunteers took on different aspects of the party. Two girls from Troop 30986, Olivia Brown and Sophia Thompson, eighth graders at Hart Middle School, stepped forward and organized all the crafts and activities.

These gifts of fleece pillows, fleece scarves, photos with Santa, bookmarks, candy cane crafts, frames and refreshments.

McKenna Prynn, an eighth grader at Pleasanton Middle School, agreed to coordinate the collection of food and preparation of food baskets for every family. She collected over 740 items which were arranged in a colorful basket with the $20 gift card.

The three girls spent more than 30 hours on the projects, successfully earning their Silver Awards, the highest award in Cadette Girl Scouting.

Cindy Williams, a parent from Troop 30986 made arrangements for the donation of backpacks and school supplies for every child, and Sarah Williams, a Senior Girl Scout, donated fleece blankets which were made as part of her ongoing Gold Award, the highest award in Senior Girl Scouting. Then, 17 older girls from Pleasanton Troop 30986 and Dublin Troop 32869 and adults aides went to Richmond to handle the party and gift distribution.

"The children had a wonderful time and the volunteers were great," Aclaro said. "It was good to see the families having some holiday fun. We can't wait until next year."

For more information about Girl Scouting in Pleasanton, Dublin or Sunol, contact Karen Rodriguez at 846-3723.

The Girl Scout Corps is a group of volunteers from local communities, schools and businesses. For more information about the Girl Scouts of Northern California, or to volunteer with the Girl Scout Corps, call 800-447-4475.

--Emily West

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