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Woodbury Heights Girl Scouts donates cookies to local food bank

Jessica Bautista/South Jersey Times By Jessica Bautista/South Jersey Times
on March 02, 2012 at 4:00 AM




WOODBURY — The Girl Scout Cookie Program became more than just a lesson on money management and business ethics for one Woodbury Heights troop this week when they donated more than 50 boxes to the Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries Food Bank.

030112 CookiesWoodbury Heights Girl Scout troop 61782 deliver 54 boxes of girl scout cookies and canned goods to the Greater Cooperative Ministries Food Bank in Woodbury. Staff Photo by Tim Hawk/Gloucester County Times

Woodbury Heights Girl Scout Troop 61782 filed into the food bank to donate cookies, and some other non-perishables, to who the girls specifically understood were “people who don’t have enough money to buy food,” second grader Courtney O’Hara said.

As the troop wrapped up their annual cookie sale campaign this week, some of the mothers of the girls decided it’d be a good opportunity to learn about paying generosity forward to the community, according to Troop Leader Lisa Daniels.

“When we were kids, it was people telling us, ‘there are kids starving in Africa,” Daniels remembers. “Now, it’s ‘kids are starving next door.’”

In keeping with one of their general themes of philanthropy, the girls quietly helped unload the boxes and bags of cookies and food and were given a lesson on what they do and who they help by the food bank’s director, Kathy Stackhouse-Cunningham.

“Most of the families that come here normally wouldn’t be able to afford cookies, this will be a real treat for them,” Stackhouse-Cunningham said. “People are going to be so excited about this,” she told the children.

The food bank serves approximately 350 needy families a month.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had cookies donated to us before,” Stackhouse-Cunningham said with a smile. “This is just great.”

According to Daniels, the inspiration to donate to the food bank came from a teacher of the some of the kindergarten girls.

“[Woodbury Heights Elementary School kindergarten teacher Nancy] Barton encourages her students to give back to the community,” Daniels said. “She keeps a jar in her classroom where the children can drop spare change. Then she donates the money to the food bank. We are just expanding on what she started.”

The girl scouts were able to collect boxes to donate while they were selling them door-to-door, at cookie booths outside of local businesses and with the help of their parents. People were able to buy boxes for the sole purpose of donating them to the food bank, as well.


Contact Jessica Bautista at (856) 686-3729 and jbautista@sjnewsco.com




GWCM honored at RiverWinds


Rev. Christine Regan, President & Kathy Stackhouse-Cunningham,
Food Pantry Coordinator receive Founders Cup

Reprinted from  Glocester County Times, Tuesday, April 05, 2011
By Gina Bittner
gbittner@sjnewsco.com

WOODBURY The Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries, Inc., is the 2011 winner of the Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce Founders' Cup and will be honored, tonight, at RiverWinds restaurant in West Deptford.

Founded in 1997, the GWCM was formed by eight local churches and faith communities and now consists of Bethlehem Baptist, Central Baptist, Christ (Episcopal) Church in Woodbury, Colonial Manor United Methodist Church, Kemble Memorial United Methodist Church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church Holy Angels Parish, St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church at Woodbury, Woodbury Friends Meeting and Woodbury Seventh-day Adventist Church.

"We wanted to be able to do things together, to be a witness to our faith," said GWCM's president, the Rev. Christine Regan of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Woodbury.

The GWCM provides services for Woodbury, Woodbury Heights, Deptford, West Deptford, National Park, Wenonah and Westville, and though the group's food pantry is their main service, the they offer a variety of help around South Jersey.

"We have grown in our outreach, and our faith is nurtured by serving others who need," said Regan. "We recognize through our efforts that love is being shared."

The GWCM food pantries are at two different locations. On Tuesday and Thursdays, clients can come from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church located at 330 East Barber Avenue and Evergreen Avenue in Woodbury. For those who work during the week and cannot come then, there is a pantry open on Saturdays at Colonial Manor United Methodist Church from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

"Food is donated by members of the congregation and even members from outside donate food and finances," said Regan. After volunteers use donated money to purchase food from the South Jersey Food Bank or area grocery stores, they load up bags, stock the pantry and more. Regan attributes much of the pantries' success to the pantry director, Kathy Cunningham

"She has just done a wonderful job organizing and creates such a pleasant environment," said Regan. "It's a lot of work, but they're just so cheerful, so serving," she said of Cunningham's team.

Clients of the GWCM's food pantry can also attend Jeannette's Closet, located at Woodbury Friends Meeting on North Broad Street in Woodbury. It provides free coats, hats, gloves, jeans, pajamas, blankets, shoes, socks, pocketbooks, toys, books, house ware items and more on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Children of in designated areas are eligible to take part in the Lunch Box Program which serves boxed lunches and breakfasts to youth during the summer when free or reduced-cost school lunches are unavailable. Additionally, Handy Helpers do small jobs throughout the house of senior and disabled citizens. Handy Helpers volunteers meet at the Presbyterian Church, Broad and Centre Streets in Woodbury on the second Saturday of each month, September through June, and work from 8:30 am to Noon.

Finally, the GWCM offers a scholarship to two high school students from Gateway Regional and Woodbury High Schools who's essays on peace are chosen out of those submitted.

"The competition encourages people to think about peace," said Regan.

Though the GWCM has continues to stretch their resources to several South Jersey towns, Regan hopes that more congregation members will volunteer and that other outside congregations will begin to help more in their communities.

"I think we need more of the congregations to know about what we are doing, so they might become a part of our effort. Then we can reach even more people," said Regan. Additional information on services can be found at gwcm.org

The GWCM will be honored tonight at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and cost $35 per person. The event includes antipasti, pasta stations, beer and wine. Tickets can be purchased at Cettei & Connell, Inc. located at 135 S. Broad St. in Woodbury. Checks should be made payable to Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce.