Sharing friendship, one bag at a time

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 3, 2015


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — In January, Girl Scout Troop 70063, out of Wiley Elementary School, embarked on a Bronze Award project to create 100 “bags of friendship” to give to young patients at Troy and Royal Oak Beaumont hospitals.

The troop, consisting of 15 girls ages 9-11, spent the last several months collecting donations and purchasing supplies. They compiled the bags, complete with inspirational handwritten messages, at Wiley Elementary on May 19 and delivered the bags to the hospital on May 21.

Troop leader Holly Hayes said the Bronze Award is the highest award the girls could receive for their age level and that they voted among themselves to come up with the bags of friendship idea.

Girl Scout Madelyn Karrandja, 10, of Shelby Township, said another Girl Scout’s similar venture, called “jars of joy,” inspired the troop.

“We thought it would be really nice to spread that idea out to all the kids in the hospitals and basically do what she did,” Karrandja said. “The (hospital) staff was really happy that we were able to do this.”

Hayes said the girls petitioned local businesses for donations, reached out to friends and family, passed out flyers to other students, and placed a large collection box in the entrance of Wiley Elementary School.

She said the girls raised more than $1,000 to provide age-appropriate bags of kindness for newborn to 16-year-old pediatric, long-term and cancer patients. The bags included snacks and teething rings for infants, as well as fun socks, coloring books, stuffed animals, tabletop games, pillows, candy, journals and more for older children.

“I think it really hit home when they filled the bags and they saw how many there were,” Hayes said. “My co-leader and I choked up when they were taking a picture with the bags and the nurses there. Seeing that everything was completed, that is what hit them, when they saw that we really did do something pretty big.”