Junior Scouts in Troop 41143 have been selling lemonade and cookies and recycling cans.

COURTESY PHOTO: HILL FAMILY - Girl Scouts Isabella Hill and Siena Renfro sold lemonade and cookies at Forest Glen Park earlier this month to raise money for care packages they plan to give to the homeless.What did you spend the summer before the fifth grade doing? Do you even remember?

Four girls from Girl Scout Troop 41143 are making their summer a memorable one — not just for themselves, but for the people they plan to help.

The 9- to 10-year-old Junior Scouts — two from the Forest Grove area, two from the Hillsboro area — are working on earning a badge for community service. Together, said Scout parents Sheila Hill and Kristi Rhodes, they came up with the idea of putting together care packages for the homeless with money they are raising themselves.

"I just was pretty impressed, because I didn't know what to expect when I had them picking out what they wanted to do," said Rhodes, who volunteered to help lead the Troop 41143 Junior Scouts this year.

After voting on a few different ideas, the girls unanimously agreed that helping the homeless is something they want to do.

Among the fundraising activities so far: bake sales, lemonade stands and can recycling, Rhodes said.

Isabella Hill and Siena Renfro set up a stand at Forest Glen Park in northwest Forest Grove for a day earlier this month, selling lemonade and cookies to raise money for their care packages.

"She is very compassionate. She's got a very big heart," said Sheila Hill of her daughter. Isabella, 9, cares about all living things, she added: "Even down to bugs."

She continued, "She just feels very passionately about doing what she can to help, and I think that the girls altogether see this as something that's getting more prevalent even here in Forest Grove."

Indeed, homelessness is a visible problem across the Portland area, and western Washington County is no exception. Even after a decade-long effort by the Washington County government to "end homelessness," officials say the number of homeless people in the county has barely changed.

No decisions have been made yet about where, when and how to distribute the care packages, which still need to be put together, Rhodes said. The girls' initial idea was to give them to homeless people living in downtown Portland, she and Hill said.

"They're still working on collecting a little bit more money and donations," said Hill.

Anyone interested in donating can contact Hill at 503-929-3012.

Rhodes said the plan is for the girls to get together soon to assemble their care packages, then distribute them sometime in August.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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