You’re never too young to volunteer

Girl Scouts aid hurricane victims


The East Meadow Girl Scouts Troops 1266 and 1674 have taken up a new initiative — aiding Hurricane Sandy victims.

On a recent Thursday, members of the two troops were to be found in the East Meadow Public Library, wrapping toys to be delivered to children in the Rockaways who lost their belongings during the storm.

The group of 7 and 8-year-old girls come from Meadowbrook and Bowling Green Elementary schools. Last month, the two troops donated 700 candy bags to Nassau Community College, which served as a shelter for displaced hurricane victims immediately following the hurricane.

“I think it’s important to know there’s kids out there who don’t have anything,” said troop leader Christin Medina, whose two daughters Jenna and Liana are Girl Scouts.

Medina said that by having the girls wrap the gifts, it gives them a greater appreciation of what they are doing to help. “They understand they’re actually giving it back to somebody,” she said. “So they can actually feel it.”

The scouts have been working in conjunction with Michael Gordon, the leader of an East Meadow-based community organization called Pocket Change to Make a Change. Gordon will be delivering the gifts on behalf of the girls. “I enjoy helping people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Summer Nelson, 8, a Meadowbrook Elementary student. “It makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing.”

“It nice to help people who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy,” added Elizabeth Columbia, also an 8-year-old Meadowbrook student.

Ganga Visvanathan, whose 8-year-old daughter Rina was among the Girl Scouts, said that since the girls endured power outages in their homes during Hurricane Sandy, they understand the hardships that other children are facing. “They understand how it feels to not have hot water and hot food,” she said. “Each of their personal experiences has enabled them to understand what people are going through.”

And the girls, who spent their evening wrapping the presents with giant smiles on their faces, were just happy to help out. “I like helping people,” said 8-year-old Samantha Insalaco. “It’s nice to give people something that they really wanted.”