Pickerington Times-Sun

Girls Scouts helping firefighters with toy drive


Members of Pickerington Area Girl Scout Troop 2140 will be out in full force from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, to facilitate the flow of traffic through the Violet Township Fire Station, 8700 Refugee Road, where motorists, safely ensconced in the warmth of their vehicles, can drop off new and unwrapped toys, or gift cards, without having to get out of their vehicles.

It is all a part of the first "Drive-Thru" Toy Drive, a combined charitable effort conducted by the Girl Scouts and the Violet Township Fire Department.

Scout leader Rhonda van Arsdale said her girls have "always participated in donating toys" for the holidays, but this year, as part of a competitive service project, the group decided to take it a step further and seek the community's help in gathering a significant number of toys for underprivileged youths during a one-day event.

She said the idea was planted when a good friend of hers approached her and several of the troop members about the Violet Township Fire Department seeking to implement a drive-thru as part of its annual month-long Toy Drive.

"Being able to serve the community and help bring Christmas joy and a smile to those in need was all it took for the girls to decide to tackle the project," van Arsdale said.

Troop 2140 is working on obtaining the "Silver Award," which is the highest award a Cadette troop can earn at this level.

Van Arsdale said the eleven girls in the troop, all eighth-graders, are students at either Lakeview Junior High School or Ridgeview Junior High.

"To earn the award, the girls must complete a minimum of 50 hours," she said. "This will also help them focus on four areas -- skill development, leadership, service and career exploration."

While the Silver Award is a big deal, and operating the toy drive-thru most certainly will help the troop fulfill its badge requirements, van Arsdale said the focus of Troop 2140 remains locked-in on its mission of helping kids who come from less favorable circumstances.

"They want to continue doing this in the future, even without getting a badge," she said.

Van Arsdale said busy motorists on a hectic Saturday during the holiday season will appreciate the opportunity to make a quick and efficient toy donation without any hassle.

"They don't have to get out of their car, they don't have to worry about their kids," she said. "You basically drive through, drop off the toy and drive right out."

She said every motorist who drops off a toy will get a raffle ticket with a chance to win prizes from local businesses.

"One business donated quite a few prizes, so we'll have close to 20 different prizes,"said van Arsdale, adding Troop 2140 will also be distributing "stickers, tattoos and candy canes for any kid that comes through the drive-thru" and performing holiday-themed carols as well.

Van Arsdale thanked Pickerington area businesses for their support in donating prizes for the event.

She said they included Barnes and Noble, Cardo's Pizza, Coldstone Creamery, Culver's, Hungry Howie's, Kokosing, Kroger, Orange Leaf, Pickerington Signs, ProFile Imaging, Rule 3 and Skyline Chili.