Giving Guide 2023: Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania

Gold Award Girl Scouts distinguish themselves as community leaders by following their vision and passion to make their corner of the world a better place.

For around six years, Gold Award Girl Scout Madee Finalle had volunteered at her local food pantry—a place where she enjoyed getting to know members of her community while also doing her part to help them. Upon learning that around 100 families count on the food pantry each week, she collaborated with them to raise awareness of the importance of nutritious foods, earning herself the Girl Scout Gold Award last year.

Madee created a cookbook with simple, informative recipes incorporating ingredients the pantry routinely has in stock. She noticed that fruits and vegetables weren’t commonly taken, so she focused on recipes that taught how to prepare seasonal produce and encouraged healthy eating habits.

“I was inspired by other volunteers at the food pantry and their commitment to serving our community and helping others,” she said. “I learned about the difficulties of being inexperienced in cooking and how healthy eating can be intimidating because of that.”

The food pantry distributed the cookbooks, which helped clients make decisions on which items to order, and they will continue supporting the community by offering healthy food choices.  

Madee received positive feedback from some of the families she helped—most saying that her cookbook was helpful in the kitchen and that it encouraged them to try different ingredients.    

In addition to the cookbooks, Madee led a team to create “recipes in a bag.” They packaged ingredients together in bags to make traditional Thanksgiving meals, such as sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. She made and distributed 90 bags total—which included exact ingredient measurements and recipes—for clients to use for their Thanksgiving dinners.

Madee stated, “I learned that helping with a community service project can impact a lot of people who are grateful for the help.”

Because of Girl Scouts like Madee, our communities are positively and directly impacted by girls and volunteers who are living the Girl Scout mission to make the world a better place.

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Story and Photography by Girls Scouts of Western Pennsylvania

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