State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Local Girl Scouts Launch Operation Backpack: Making a Difference Around the World

by on April 02, 2013 10:00 AM

It's called Operation Backpack and it's designed to help people on the other side of the world. For local Girl Scouts that ambitious mission has become a heady experience.

Girl Scouts all over Centre County took part in Operation Backpack; collecting school supplies which are destined for Kabul, Afghanistan. Those supplies have been stuffed into backpacks and are being sent overseas.

The backpacks will be distributed by American troops who volunteer at an orphanage and a women's shelter in Kabul.

You can certainly understand why children need school supplies. Girl Scout Leader Tara Mondock points out that most women in Afghanistan are uneducated and learning supplies are a desperately-needed commodity.

Mondock says Operation Backpack was inspired by the late Dino Campanis. For years, Campanis ran Operation Shoebox from his Bellefonte shoe shop, sending care packages to our troops serving overseas. Paula Parker has been running Operation Shoebox since Campanis died, last year. It was Parker who suggested the Girl Scouts start Operation Backpack.

Operation Backpack began as a tribute to the Girl Scouts organization. According to Mondock, "This year is the Girl Scouts 101st birthday and our goal was to make up 101 backpacks." But generous supporters quickly donated 310 backpacks. Just like the United States Marines Corps, the Girl Scouts had to "adapt and overcome." They decided to fill up as many backpacks as they could.

Area churches and community groups pitched in. Mondock says, "we were able to fill 250 of the backpacks with school supplies, adding that, "The backbacks will be shipped to our troops this week. It was a lot of work pulling this off." Girl Scouts from troop 41230 did all the packing.

The Girl Scouts will be anxiously waiting for confirmation that those school supplies have arrived in Afghanistan. Mondock says the girls, "Were overwhelmed by the amount we collected. They were moved by the difference they could make by working together."

Photo Gallery - Operation Backpack: Girl Scouts Pack School Supplies

Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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