Troop helps out St. Vincent de Paul pantry in Gresham

Nothing lifts the soul quite like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and thanks to a group of Daisy Scouts, dozens of low-income folks in Gresham will be able to enjoy some.

Daisy Scout Troop No. 45677, which meets at Cherry Park Presbyterian Church in Troutdale, used proceeds from its first-ever Girl Scout cookie sale to buy 70 jars of peanut butter and 35 jars of jelly for St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at St. Henry Church, Gresham. The pantry serves more than 1,000 low-income folks a month.

The first-grade-age girls, who attend various schools in the Gresham-Barlow and Reynolds districts, came up with the idea on their own, said Alisa Davis, troop leader.

'I don't know if it's something they've been talking about at school,' she said. 'But they wanted to help families who need food.'

Davis works with Barbara Stonewall at Ruby's Spa in McMenamins Edgefield, and the two women were talking about the girls' idea when Stonewall noted the food pantry - where she volunteers - needed peanut butter.

'The price of peanut butter had gone up, and it was becoming harder to provide it to families that the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry serves every Tuesday and Saturday mornings,' Stonewall said.

According to various sources, drought, disease and the decision by many peanut farmers to switch to other more profitable crops created a peanut shortage last year that is driving up prices. Meanwhile, despite the price increase, peanut butter is still a relatively needed source of protein for many folks and particularly useful for families whose breadwinners are still at work when children get home from school.

'If a child comes home to an empty house, a peanut butter sandwich is something they can actually make themselves,' Stonewall said.

After weeks of planning and collecting, the eight Daisy Scouts met at the pantry April 18 to help St. Vincent de Paul workers put peanut butter and jelly jars on the shelves. After learning about the actual St. Vincent de Paul - a 17th-century French Catholic priest who served the poor - the girls colored pictures of him and were treated to ice cream by pantry volunteers.

Davis said the whole experience was an eye opener for the children.

'It's helped them to realize they're lucky, and they have lot of privileges, and it's good to give back,' she said.

'For their first service project, what a great educational thing for them to do,' Stonewall added.

How to help

For more information on the St. Vincent de Paul Society, call Debbie Fisher at Debbie Fisher at 971-219-5199, or visit, then click 'Parish Life,' then 'Catholic Organizations,' then 'St. Vincent de Paul (Main).'

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