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Girl Scouts get hands-on experience

EATON TWP. — Using their newly learned skill of sewing, eight Girl Scouts from Junior Troop 50652 spent an hour Tuesday night sewing together pieces of gently used sweaters. The end result was pairs of mittens that will warm the hands of the homeless of Lorain County.

Troop leader Denise Sheldon said the troop could have collected mittens or sweaters and given those to the homeless, but having the girls create something by hand and seeing the end result is the lesson Sheldon wanted the girls to learn.

“The girls earned their sewing badge last year and are anxious to put their new skill to work for the greater good,” Sheldon said.

The girls are working on their Bronze Award, which is the highest honor for a Junior Scout. The community service project the girls have chosen to work on as part of this award is providing mittens to the homeless in Lorain County.

“There are sadly hundreds of homeless families, individuals, and veterans in Lorain County and many are on waiting lists to get into shelters and will have to brave the cold Ohio temperatures, which are quickly approaching,” Sheldon told the girls Tuesday.

The troop has joined forces with the homeless program of the Educational Service Center of Lorain County to help distribute the mittens to all Lorain County homeless shelters.

Concentrating on threading her needle, Madison Ries, 10, found it important to know that the effort she and her fellow Junior Scouts have been putting into making the mittens will be appreciated by the nearly 200 homeless in the county.

“It’s good to know we are helping the homeless,” Madison said.

With the help of their troop leader and moms, the girls shared scissors, embroidery floss and giggles as each tried her best to sew a pair of mittens. After 20 minutes, the first pair of mittens was finished. Soon after, others followed and the smiles brought the room to life as the girls tried on the mittens themselves.

“They are warm,” 10-year-old Lindsay Eakins said as she slipped her hand inside a mitten.

Tuesday was the first time the girls sat around together sewing; and now, in an effort to make the 200 pairs of mittens by winter, they are asking the community to lend a hand.

The troop will be hosting a “Sew-A-Thon” 2 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church Hall, 708 Erie St., Grafton, to get all of the mittens made.

The mittens will be cut from the old sweaters and sewn together by hand. All community members are encouraged to participate. Girl Scout Juniors and above are also welcome.

Sweaters and polar fleece are also being collected at Grafton-Midview Public Library, Grafton Sparkle Market, Schild’s IGA, LaGrange IGA and all Midview school buildings now through Nov. 15.

“Since only one to two pair of mittens can be made from each sweater, the girls need help in collecting as many sweaters as possible — 100 percent wool and wool-blend sweaters work best, as will polar fleece, but any sweater will do,” Sheldon said. “The more sweaters donated the more mittens they can sew and the more cold hands they can warm.”

The troop has also set up an account to accept monetary donations at www.gofundme.com/ag5vb4hg.

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