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New pajamas collected by Girl Scouts Troop 20047 warm those in need

LAPLACE — Girl Scouts Troop 20047 presented 159 pairs of pajamas to representatives from the St. John the Baptist Parish CASA program Monday to give foster children with few personal belongings a feeling of ownership over their lives.

The troop far exceeded their original goal of collecting 100 pajamas prior to the Dec. 16 deadline, according to troop leader Jodi Luna.

Each CASA child received two pairs of pajamas along with a cuddly stuffed animal donated by PetSmart. Extra pajamas will benefit foster children in neighboring parishes, Luna said.

Beginning at the end of October, each girl in the troop purchased two pairs of pajamas each, one for a boy and one for a girl, ranging in size from newborn to XL.

Family and friends of troop members, Girl Scouts troop 20772 and the community contributed to the project’s success.

CASA representatives Akeem Burl and Stacy Ashmore picked up the donations following a wrapping party, and Luna said the girls were happy to help even if they can’t see the children receive the gifts.

Senior troop member Victoria Glidden said more donations came in after the 159 sets of pajamas were collected, bringing the new total closer to 165.

She enjoyed the service project because she knew the value it held for the community.

“I loved it,” Glidden said. “It gave us an opportunity to give back to kids in need who don’t have everything we do.”

Junior troop member Rhonda Scott was touched when she heard about the children in the CASA program, and she got her entire family involved in collecting pajamas.

“After I heard about all the kids who were homeless, it broke my heart for them,” Scott said.

One of her favorite parts was wrapping pajama sets in Christmas paper and attaching teddy bears to the outside, making a nice presentation for children receiving the gifts.

“We just wanted to help the kids that are homeless,” Scott said.

“That’s what Girl Scouts is about. We help the best we can. At the end, I felt pretty happy.”

Senior troop member Rylee Johnson agreed that the service project emphasizes what Girl Scouts represents.

“Showing leadership through service is what it means to be a Girl Scout,” Johnson said. “It’s very important we get to do this and show others in the community it’s good to reach out.”

To continue service in the spirit of the holiday season, Troop 20047 is visiting Twin Oaks Nursing Home in LaPlace to sing Christmas carols and present residents with crafts.