It started with a conversation between local Rotarian Brandy Van Gelder and Girl Guides leader Tanya Thompson. Thompson, who had hundreds of boxes of cookies, lamented that the girls could not sell them due to the pandemic.
The proceeds from Girl Guide cookies help raise funds for club activities. Upon hearing the news, Van Gelder’s ingenuity kicked in. She approached fellow Rotarians and personal friends, asking if they’d be interested in purchasing the cookies, and then she took it a step further. She asked if they wanted to donate the cookies back to a place or organization in the community.
Staff at Fairvern Nursing Home, the food banks, and Chrysalis women’s shelter were among the organizations chosen. Van Gelder said the hospital was chosen as well “but I think at this point the hospital has been very quiet and the staff there have even said themselves ‘at this point, we’re not really needing food donations for our staff, I think that places like the food bank are probably a much higher need right now.'”
In the end, close to 200 boxes of cookies were purchased and divided between the various organizations with a little note calling the donation “a sweet treat to brighten your day from friends.”
Van Gelder and her husband Dave took precautions such as leaving the boxes of cookies in their garage for a few days and using protective gloves to label everything as well as masks when delivering the donations. Most of them were delivered on Tuesday, with friends helping along the way.
Van Gelder said the women’s shelter isn’t taking any donations at the moment, so she has held onto a case for them. “It’s too bad because I’m sure some of them were in Girl Guides at some point, but I definitely kept some back for them.”
Van Gelder said Rotarians are exploring what they can do in the community to help.
“Part of our club has somewhat decided to hold off a little bit on doing too much right now knowing that there’s going to be a need further down the road as well, so we’re trying to decide what our initiative should be at the moment and in future but I didn’t really like sitting idle,” she said. “I wanted to get out and do something. This just seemed like such a simple idea. We’re helping out the Girl Guides by taking their cookies off their hands and keeping their fundraiser going and being able to give back to the community.”
And apparently the Rotary Club of Huntsville has a cookie monster in its midst. “I had a Rotarian call in an extra order of five boxes, we won’t mention any names, but he did say they’re his favourite cookies,” laughed Van Gelder.
She said being kind is important, particularly at this time, because you never know how hard this pandemic is hitting someone.
“I heard something really neat the other day and I’m sort of thinking in this manner a lot more now. We’re travelling in the same storm together but everybody’s riding it in a different vessel, and it’s so true because some people are working and some people aren’t working, some people are enjoying their time off, some people are extremely stressed with the environment in their homes or the lack of food… so many of us are at a different position going through this and there’s some positive to come of it and certainly there’s going to be some negative, but we can’t just assume that we’re all in the same boat together.”
Van Gelder said she hopes people keep reaching out and being kind to one another. “There’s no time like the present to be kind.”
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