Fifth-grade Pleasanton Girl Scout Troop 31497 organized a coat drive for homeless individuals in Oakland over the holiday season.
The girls worked with One Warm Coat, a national coat drive charity, to get their project off the ground. The troop presented their community service idea to students at Fairlands Elementary, distributed more than 900 fliers and made posters to inform the community about their project.
More than 500 coats were donated by the public for this community service project, which the troop delivered to the East Oakland Community Center. The center provides resources to homeless individuals of all ages.
Parent volunteer Kelly Enright said the troop wanted to connect with the people they were helping by delivering the coats themselves.
"The biggest impact was felt by the girls when the coats were delivered in person to the shelter in Oakland. There were several homeless people at the facility who were grateful and overwhelmed with the donation," she said. "The girls had a very different mental image of what a homeless person looks like and didn't realize how far reaching the homeless problem is."
She said one of the greatest impacts was when the troop met a young single mother with two children at the shelter. Enright said the girls left with the realization that "not all communities are like Pleasanton."
Enright said the troop was were glad they were able to make someone's winter a little easier.
"Hand delivering the coats to the homeless in Oakland was quite an eye-opening experience for them. They were not used to seeing bars on the windows, security doors and people from all walks of life," Enright said. "The staff made everyone feel comfortable by asking about sports and laughing with our troop. Think the whole experience gave the children a new perspective."
Her daughter Sophia said she felt "glad to help people that may be cold over the winter."