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Wells Middle School Girl Scout Aims To Take a “Bite” Out of Hunger

May 10, 2013

Alameda County Community Food BankHunger. It is the second resolution after finding shelter when under duress. Though unemployment claims have fallen to their lowest levels in two years, thousands of Bay Area residents combat this daily challenge for both themselves and for their families. These needs are often due to unemployment/underemployment, the high cost of living, medical bills, cuts to government programs and to other unforeseen issues.

At the same time, there are numerous “angels” living within our community that work to combat this problem. One of them is Wells Middle School 8th grader, Hailey Lampi. Ms. Lampi has been a Girl Scout for eight years and is a member of Troop 32595 in Dublin. Upon reaching the rank of Cadette, she began to contemplate a project to pursue for her Silver Award – the highest award available for a Cadette. The regulations and timeline for this are very clear. A Scout must ask herself about an issue that they truly care about. Further, with the help of an advisor, they must map out a project that would benefit the community and to build a team of helpers. The minimum investment of time into this project must equate to 50 hours.

Hailey’s issue was hunger. As a student, she had witnessed the benefits of free and reduced lunches that served some of her peers at both Frederiksen Elementary and at Wells Middle School. However, these programs do not exist during the summer months when school is not in session. She began to formulate a plan that would encourage donations through a community canned food drive in the vicinity of Frederiksen and other neighborhoods. The second portion of her concept included the organization of a “Me & My Guy Dance” at the same school that would also include non-Scouting girls. Part of the admission would be to deliver at least three food items. It’s a fascinating journey and OneDublin.org had the opportunity to visit with both Hailey and with members of the Alameda County Community Food Bank – the ultimate benefactor of this event.

OneDublin.org: When did you start the planning process for this project and how were you able to recruit help?

Wells Middle School student Hailey LampiHailey Lampi: “The planning actually started last August and moved into the spring. Our troop has eight members, but I knew that we needed additional help. I simply talked to fellow scouts that were younger and older, plus Wells Middle School Leadership students. It turns out that they were searching for additional service hours and we were able to gather a large group of volunteers. We even had students from as far away as from Concord – those attending Carondelet High School.”

OneDublin.org: You mentioned that the dance was open to Girl Scouts and to those that are attending Frederiksen. What was the turnout and feedback?

Lampi: “Originally, we were going to limit the attendance to 100 girls and their guys. However, the response was overwhelming and we ultimately expanded it to 158 girls. Everyone seemed to have a great time and all participants left with a gift bag and the memory of a special night. We were also able to collect additional food items that added to our total.”

OneDublin.org: You had a goal in mind. What was your result and how did it make you feel?

Lampi: “My personal goal was to collect 1,000 pounds of food to donate to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. We delivered our collection on Tuesday and the total was 1,767 pounds of food! I was pretty excited and I felt great that we could exceed our goal.”

A level of organization was required to make this project a reality. Part of it came in the form of Katherine Avila, Food Drive Coordinator at http://www.accfb.org. For Katherine, the subject of hunger is very near and dear to her heart. She shared that after growing up and working for years in the East Bay, she suddenly found herself unemployed due to a company consolidation. For the first time, she found herself on the “other side of the rope” and sought out State assistance through the Cal-Fresh program. After great perseverance and applying for a multitude of positions, she gained employment through the Alameda County Community Food Bank in 2012. Her circumstance and life perspectives gave her every ambition to help to make a difference.

OneDublin.org: Exactly who benefits from the work of your group and how are they eligible? How many citizens positively benefit from the work of your organization?

Katherine Avila (second from right)

Katherine Avila (second from right)

Katherine Avila: “There is no single face of hunger. The Food Bank serves one in six Alameda County residents. Our services reach 49,000 people each week. What we do know is that when people find themselves in a difficult situation, food is the one place they think that they can cut, which leads to a number of hard decisions. These include not buying food to keep the heat on or for paying for medication.”

OneDublin.org: Can you approximate how much food is donated to your organization annually and are there slower times of the year for donations?

Avila: “We distributed 24 million pounds of food in 2012. From January through August, donations do decrease, except at schools, which are really champions during this time. During the holidays, people feel an incredibly spirit of generosity at that time. People tend to give their financial donations around this time in order to meet tax deadlines.”

OneDublin.org: Please describe how it feels when individuals/groups show up with donated items. Further, anything else you’d like to add?

Avila: “When I have a visit from someone like Hailey, it’s just pure happiness for me. My heart grows a little bigger when I see the fruits of compassion. We hear a lot about the negative in life, but there is so much good in people and I am heartened to know that there are many ways that people help others. When you consider the number of clients that we serve and the people who support us, it is no wonder that “Community” is our middle name. It’s directly impactful, meaningful and fun!”

Alameda County Community Food Bank 1767 pounds of donated food 11,767 pounds of donated food were delivered to the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland on Tuesday. According to Ms. Avila, these items will have been disbursed by next week. OneDublin.org salutes the efforts by Girl Scouts like Hailey Lampi and all those who have chosen to support this ongoing effort.

Hailey Lampi’s Food Drive Website: http://365fooddrive.yolasite.com/

Alameda County Community Food Bank Website: http://www.accfb.org/about_us.html

Alameda County Community Food Bank 1767 pounds of donated food

Alameda County Community Food Bank 1767 pounds of donated food

Alameda County Community Food Bank 1767 pounds of donated food

Alameda County Community Food Bank 1767 pounds of donated food

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One Comment
  1. Mrs. Gundell Fredericksen Elementary School permalink
    May 10, 2013 12:20 pm

    Hailey, I am so proud of your community efforts to help feed the hungry. You are a role model and leader for all of us. Thank you for inspiring me to donate food to those in need.

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