Wantagh's Faith Stallone receives prestigious Girl Scout award


A crusade to educate the community about local food insecurities has earned Wantagh High School sophomore Faith Stallone the Girl Scout’s prestigious Gold Award.

Stallone, a member of Wantagh’s Girl Scout Troop 3305 for 12 years, began her Gold Award project last October, hosting a food drive at Viking Graveyard, a haunted house charity in Seaford that collects canned goods for those in need. She also spread awareness of food insecurity to those in attendance to let them know that the concern hits close to home.

“(The project) was about educating others that food insecurities are here in our town, and that we can help,” Stallone said. “And then teaching them how to help.”

As part of the project, she donated food to Long Island Cares, a non-profit organization created to help feed the hungry on Long Island. The organization, based in Hauppauge, also helped her understand the extent of food insecurity on Long Island, where around 250,000 people go hungry, and she learned that about 500 pounds of food could feed 382 families.

Stallone helped raise around 700 pounds of food at the Viking Graveyard, according to William Gonyou, Long Island Cares’ community events and food drive manager.

“All of us at Long Island Cares are incredibly proud of her for seeing a cause, believing in it, and actually taking steps to do something about it,” Gonyou said.

The Gold Award is the highest achievement a Girl Scout could attain. Available to Scouts in the ninth through 12th grades, the award is achieved by creating a project with a lasting impact concerning issues in their community and beyond.

The project required a minimum of 80 hours of work, must be sustainable, have a global link, and be able to reach people in the community, according to Stallone’s mother, Kerri, who is also her troop leader.

“I was very proud of myself, because this was a lot of work,” Stallone said. “My Gold Award was over 97 hours, and the fact that I was able to complete it in such a short amount of time, it just impressed me about my abilities and what I can do.”

In November, she helped the Wantagh Kiwanis Club by working a gravy station at a Thanksgiving food pantry held at the Massapequa Fire Department. While there, she promoted a poster for a can opener drive, creating a QR Code for the poster that linked to an Amazon list where people could buy and donate can openers to give to local food pantries.

“She was worried that the families may not have the facilities to open all the cans that were being donated to them,” Stallone’s mother said.

In December, she started a reverse advent calendar at her church, the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Levittown, where volunteers donated a different item of food each day, whether it was a can of soup or can of beans. Stallone described it as the opposite of a regular advent calendar, where you receive a gift.  

“You give something every day,” Stallone said.

The reverse advent, according to her mom, helped raise more than 300 pounds of food, which was also donated to Long Island Cares.

In January, Stallone educated 15 younger Wantagh-Seaford Girl Scout troops from kindergarten to second grade by conducting a meeting covering global hunger and how they could all pitch in locally. She taught the young Scouts about food sustainability and why canned goods are preferable to donate over other food items, such as fruits.

“They really liked that they were able to make a difference in their community,” Stallone said of the younger Scouts, “so some of them did their own food drives and donated to different charities.”

For the Gold Award, Stallone created two projects with a lasting impact. The first was an event at her high school in February, called “Battle of The Classes Food Drive,” where each class competed to fill boxes with food, which were weighed and donated to Long Island Cares. According to Gonyou, the food drive, which is now an annual school event, helped raise around 468 pounds of food.

Gonyou said Stallone’s goal of spreading awareness about food insecurity on Long Island helps bring in more people to the cause that weren’t aware of it. He added that her efforts could draw in people of all ages that need help or can help.

“It’s important that students are taking initiative to help solve this problem, and not just adults,” Gonyou said. “Students are recognizing this is an issue, and they’re taking steps to do something about it.”

Stallone’s other impactful project was building a youth food pantry at her church, which she called The Hunger Games Program. In December 2020, a fire destroyed the church, and this March, she rebuilt the food pantry into a youth program, where kids could take inventory of the supplies and host food drives. According to Stallone, the program helps the youth feel empowered and earns them community service hours with the church.

Stallone’s Gold Award ceremony will take place in June at the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center. She worked hard for the achievement, her mother said, adding that she was amazed by her daughter’s commitment to spreading awareness on food insecurities when most people her age are spending their weekends hanging out with friends.

“It made me so proud to see her grow and know that the sky’s the limit,” her mother said.