Scouts, community step up to help after fire

When a local Girl Scout and her family lost everything in a fire on April 11, her fellow scouts and other community groups banded together to help meet the family’s needs.

“I had no idea that [the community’s response] was going to be like this,” said Janette Moore, whose daughter Janiyah is a member of Brownie Troop 447 of Chester. “I mean, people have been so kind, so generous and so loving.

“I’ve never felt this much love and generosity from people in my whole life. … You don’t even feel like you lost anything.”

The night of the fire, Moore said, her oldest daughter, who is 14, woke up, smelled smoke and started crying, “Fire!” The family, which includes five children ages 14, 8, 7, 4 and 2, got out of the house and into the car and pulled away from the house.

“Fire was coming from every window and door,” Moore said. “It was huge. … I’ve never seen anything like that. I was just thankful that we all got out.”

Moore e-mailed Jennifer McCray, the leader of Brownie Troop 447, to let her know Janiyah had lost her Brownie sash. McCray “stepped it up,” she said, helping the family with dinner, collecting clothes and getting Moore’s other daughter’s Daisy troop involved.

McCray said the troop has collected a bunch of clothes, toys and other items the family needs, including furniture. The troop also scheduled to have meals delivered to the family for several nights, she said.

Now, the troop is asking for dollar donations to help raise money to buy the family’s five children a Nintendo Wii.

“I know, it sounds like something they don’t necessarily need, but that’s the point,” McCray said. It’s something that the scouts know the family’s children will enjoy, she said.

After the purchase of the Wii, all of the remaining money will go to the Moore Family, McCray said. Donations can be made payable to The Moore Family Fundraiser and mailed to Wachovia Bank, 4400 W. Hundred Road, Chester, VA 23831, or delivered to any Wachovia branch location.

The troop has been very active in the community, McCray said, and it has been working to help the Colonial Heights Food Pantry. On a recent afternoon, the troop used a portion of its profits from its recent cookie sale to shop for food for the pantry, she said.

At a local grocery store, nine of the troop’s members, including Janiyah, helped fill two carts with cereal, oatmeal, toilet paper, dish soap, toothbrushes, canned meat and other items for the food pantry.

Marelisa Smith, whose daughter, Madisson, is a member of the troop, said she thought getting the girls involved in such work was definitely valuable.

“It teaches them that there’s people out there that don’t have everything, and this is a way to help the community,” Smith said.

The girls were touched by what happened to their fellow scout and her family, Smith said.

“It was a shocker for them,” she said. From the experience, all of them have learned that people need to help each other out, she said.

Moore said she thought it was wonderful that Janiyah and the scouts were helping others.

“She said, ‘Mom, it felt good to help people and go buy food,’” Moore said. “It’s a wonderful idea, and I’m glad she liked to give back.”

The girls planned to deliver the food and 83 donated boxes of Girl Scout cookies after the shopping trip.


Scouts helping community

As the Assistant Leader of Troop 447, I know that these girls decided on their own to which charity they wanted to give a large portion of the profits from the cookie sales. The girls went through their bedrooms to pull out clothes, toys and stuffed animals for Janyiha and the rest of her family. The way they presented these items to her (again, on their own) brought tears to my eyes. The first hand experience they have had this year to help people in need and the way they have chosen to go about helping these people astonishes me. This troop is experiencing what being a Girl Scouts is all about. What a blessing it is that we have them in this community.

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