The Spokane Valley Partners Baby O Baby Layette program received its largest single donation last fall thanks to the hard work and dedication of three Junior Girl Scouts.
Selena Elliott, 11, Monica Troxel, 12, and Erin Buck, 12, donated 51 complete baby layettes to earn the highest achievement in Junior Scouts, the Bronze Award.
“It was nothing short of amazing,” Spokane Valley Partners program director Connie Nelson said.
Nelson refers to a layette as a “baby starter kit,” consisting of diapers, bottles, quilts, bibs, diaper bag, sleepers and other necessities for a newborn.
The average value of each layette is $100.
The Baby O Baby program began in 2003 to assist low-income pregnant women. It’s funded strictly by donations.
Last year, Spokane Valley Partners distributed 99 layettes to area residents. Nelson believes the need will increase.
“The girls fulfilled a third of what we will need this year,” Nelson said, who estimates this year’s need at approximately 150 layettes. “I’m so thrilled by what these girls have done.”
The girls learned of the project after Nelson e-mailed the Girl Scout Council requesting help.
“We were considering several ideas,” Elliott said. “But we thought this idea would do the most good for the community.”
In order to purchase the baby items, each girl came up with their own creative way to raise money.
“Their ingenuity was amazing to me,” Nelson said. “Every step of the way was driven by these three ladies.”
Monica, a home-schooled sixth-grader, made cider using apples from the family orchard. She sold 10 one-gallon jugs of cider at her church for $5 each. She figured she used about 200 apples to make each gallon.
Elliott, Selena a sixth-grader at Evergreen Middle School in the Central Valley School District, went door to door in her neighborhood asking for donations. She also sold raspberries, recycled cans and raised approximately $350 during a two-day garage sale for which all three girls donated items.
Erin, also a sixth-grader at Evergreen, sent an e-mail to more than 50 family members and friends asking for donations. She received money from all over the U.S. Her great uncle, Lance Ryerson of Simi Valley, Calif., went shopping instead of just sending a check. He spent an estimated $150 on an assortment of baby items.
“It was a huge box full of stuff,” said Buck, who raised approximately $500 through all her efforts. “He’s a great guy.”
Erin also worked with her grandmother making burp rags and baby quilts.
In early September, the girls spent five hours in the entryway of Fred Meyer at Sullivan Road and Sprague Avenue seeking donations from shoppers.
“I was amazed at how generous people were,” said Carrie Buck, a Girl Scout leader and Erin Buck’s mother. “People you wouldn’t think would donate would bring diapers and wipes. It was incredible.”
During the five-hour period, the girls raised more than $1,000 in cash and merchandise.
“We had a garbage can, two or three carts and baskets filled full with stuff,” Elliott said.
Each girl spent an average of 40 hours working on the project, more than doubling the required 15 hours for the Bronze Award.
Once they got all the donations, it took four hours to assemble all the layettes, and three vehicles to deliver them to Spokane Valley Partners.
“It was a lot more work than they thought it would be,” Carrie Buck said. “It says a lot about these girls for them to accomplish this size of project. I get chills just thinking about it.”