Giving back to those who have sacrificed so much for our country during their time of need was on the minds and in the hearts of six members of 5th grade Girl Scout Troop 2510 this holiday season. The Wheat Ridge girls chose to help homeless veterans in Denver to earn their Bronze Award, the highest award Girl Scout Juniors can earn.
The girls learned about the homeless veteran population in the Denver area and went out into the community to see overnight shelters and day shelters. They saw permanent housing programs for homeless veterans and learned that there are solutions to homelessness. The majority of homeless veterans are single men who suffer from mental illness or alcohol and/or substance abuse. About one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Many more veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
The Girl Scouts took action by holding a warm clothing drive at Prospect Valley Elementary School to collect hundreds of jackets, hats, gloves, sweatshirts, socks and shoes. They also created 27 care packages for homeless veterans that included toiletries, warm items, basic food items, candy and handmade cards expressing support and thanks. All items were distributed through the Community Resource and Referral Center in the VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veteran’s program. The Girl Scouts who learned about this important social issue and made a difference are Hannah F., Makayla K., Julia R., Daisy S., Julia T. and Kaylin V.