Girl Scouts buy Christmas gifts for the needy

Published: November 29, 2006 | 5097th good news item since 2003

Nineteen young girls went on a search-and-buy mission yesterday inside Boscov’s at the Nanuet Mall.

While enjoying the camaraderie and the browsing, the youngsters bought presents for families who cannot afford many Christmas gifts.

Girl Scout Troop 20, based at West Nyack Elementary School, yesterday became volunteers in People to People’s annual Santa Project.

“We’re basically shopping for people who can’t afford presents for Christmas,” Caitlin Enright, 7, said yesterday.

“It makes me feel good,” the youngster said as she shopped with Tiffany Betar, and Elianna Murphy, both also 7.

Led by Scout mom Lisa Betar, the trio had some problems finding their assigned gifts in the department store.

People to People’s Santa Project assigns individual families to its volunteer shoppers with gifts the families asked for.

Finding boots and CDs were not easy, Lisa Betar said, laughing. She and her girls also were looking for a junior-sized shirt, a girl’s shirt, a hat and gloves.

“It’s actually fun,” Elianna Murphy said. “It’s like you are shopping for your own kids or family.”

The troop was buying presents for two families – a single mother with four children and another single mom with five children.

The 24-girl troop’s budget was about $600 – $200 from the group’s cookie fund and $400 raised through $20 donations from the girls, said Teresa Smith, the troop’s leader. Kim Stiles and Fernanda Witdorchic are co-leaders.

People to People runs a year-round food pantry and distributes food to people across Rockland.

Its Santa Project, which is more than 30 years old, distributes gifts to children and adults. More than 800 county families have been screened to verify that they are eligible, the agency has said.

The families write “Dear Santa” letters to People to People.

“We’re helping the community and teaching our children to do the right things for other people,” Smith said, standing with her 7-year-old daughter, Helen.

Troop 20 Scouts are veterans of giving. They collected Halloween candy and other items for U.S. military personnel in Iraq.

Yesterday, the Scouts bought toys and clothes as they went floor to floor at Boscov’s.

Nicole Amaltifano, 7, carried a shirt, while Marie Stiles and Stephanie Muserlian, both also 7, carried slips of paper with requested sizes of clothes and toys.

Delisa Marcus, 7, said she bought a pair of woman’s pink pajamas.

“I feel very happy for them,” she said of the families receiving the gifts.

Published in Charity, Kids & Teens
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