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Aid Refugees with

Packs of Love

for Ukrainian Children

During the spring of 2022, GCNWI initiated the “Packs of Love for Ukrainian Children” service project. Girl Scouts and volunteers were able to fill over 800 backpacks with much needed necessities for the refugee children, helping to relieve the severe humanitarian crisis. The dire hardship is not over. We are asking once again that the service units, troops, and volunteers fill backpacks with items that are desperately needed by the children. Let’s do our best to continue this effort to bring critical relief to the most vulnerable.. We are hoping to send another shipment by Juliette’s birthday to an orphanage in Poland, so the backpacks will arrive by the holidays.

Here’s what to do:

  • Collect new school-type backpacks as a Service Unit, as a troop, or as an individual. PLEASE, no drawstring bags.
  • Collect the list of attached items (new only) needed by refugee children.
  • Fill the backpacks with just 1 of each item.
  • Attach a tag to the backpack that indicates its contents, so the shipper knows what the backpack contains. ( download tag ) Put a hole in a corner of the tag, and attach to one of the zipper pulls.
  • If possible, put the backpacks in plastic bags containing 3 to 5 backpacks. Each.
  • Take the backpacks to one of the drop-off sites.
  • Council volunteers will collect the backpacks from the drop off sites and get them to a non-profit that is shipping them for us at no cost.

There is also an opportunity for service units, troops, or individuals to make donations at the drop-off site. Although this is NOT necessary, it will help to ease the financial burden on each site that is providing shipping. It costs $2 per pound to ship overseas.

Items to Include in the Packs of Love for Ukrainian Children

Please put one of each item into the backpack. We want the backpacks to be as uniform as possible. For shipping purposes, include a list attached to the outside of the backpack, so the shipper knows what it contains; another attachment has a sample tag. Include the gender and age range on the tag. The tags can be printed on card stock or on paper. Put a hole in the corner of the tag and tie it to the zipper pull. Try to keep the backpacks as light as possible. They don’t need to be totally stuffed.

  • School-type Backpack—15” to 17” (Please, no drawstring bags)
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste w/holder or cap
  • Bar Soap in Travel Soap Holder
  • Wash Cloth & Hand Towel in Zip Lock Bag
  • Comb and/or Hair Brush
  • Socks
  • Soft Blanket—approximately 50”x60” that is rolled up
  • Refillable Water Bottle—12 oz to 18 oz
  • Small LED Flashlight
  • Package of 8-16 Crayons OR a package of 8-10 Markers or 10-12 Color Pencils w/sharpener
  • Coloring Book or Sketch Pad
  • Small Plush Animal, no larger than a Beanie Baby,
  • placed in zip lock bag with poem attached to bag
  • Small Bag of Hard Candy, such as Werther’s or Life Savers
  • Card - see the separate attachment for instructions

Poem for Plush Animals

Sending you a BIG HUG!

I am a little pocket friend,
Squeeze me tight when you feel sad.
I am here to give you strength and warmth,
And to take away all that is bad.

Відправте вам великі обійми!
Я маленький кишеньковий друг,
Стисніть мене міцно, коли вам сумно.
Я тут, щоб дати вам сили і тепло,
І забрати все це погано.

Card Instructions

Each backpack should include a card for the recipient. The card can be either handmade, computer-generated, or purchased. What’s important is that a message of hope and caring be incorporated somewhere on the card. There are plenty of graphics of the Ukrainian Flag and sunflowers (their national flower) online.

Also, when signing the card, please be sure that the girl indicates she is a Girl Scout and her troop number. For girls who are a little older, they should also put the Council’s name on the card, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, so the recipients know where the backpacks originated.

Another option would be for the leader, especially for a troop of younger girls, to generate a computer message that the girls can paste onto the card. And just so you know, Microsoft does have Ukrainian in its “Translate Selected Text”, which is under “Review” on the tool bar.

How to Assemble the Backpack

Large pocket

  1. Blanket
  2. Wash Cloth, Hand Towel, and Socks in Zip Lock Bag
  3. Water Bottle
  4. Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  5. Comb and/or Hair Brush  
  6. Bar Soap in Travel Soap Holder
  7. Art Supplies: coloring book with crayons (for little kids); sketch pad, marker OR colored pencils, and pencil  sharpener (for big kids)
  8. Flashlight
  9. Small Plush Animal in Zip Lock Bag with Poem included
  10. Bag of Candy     

Side pocket

  1. Card that has been personalize

Attach to the zipper pull with string or a paper clip the contents tag with items you’ve checked off.

 

TAGS

BACKPACK CARD

HOW TO ORGANIZE ITEMS FOR BACKPACK ASSEMBLY

Ideas of Ways to Collect the Items Needed for the Backpacks
  • Find a local venue where the troop or service unit can hold a collection day. Advertise in the local newspaper or through social media the day and time of the collection and the list of items needed.
  • Ask local businesses or public venues (such as libraries and community centers) to place collection boxes in their facilities. Advertise in the local papers or through social media where the collection boxes are located and what items are needed to fill the backpacks. Be sure a starting and ending date is included.
  • Ask the houses of worship to put the information in their weekly bulletins and place a collection box at their locations. Be sure a starting and ending date for the collection is included.
  • Make a flier describing the project, the items needed, and the date for the collection. Have the girls distribute the fliers in their neighborhoods one weekend and return to collect the items the following week. Anyone donating can just leave the items in a bag at the front door on collection day.
  • Ask local businesses who sell any of the needed items to donate to the cause. You might be surprised at how willing some businesses are to help!
  • A letter to request donations is included with the materials.

Once the troop or service unit has collected the items, hold a “Packs of Love” assembly event with the girls. If you have more items than needed for the number of backpacks you’ve collected, box those items up separately. They can still be taken to one of the drop off sites to be used to fill more backpacks or be sent with the backpacks to the orphanage. All items WILL be sent to Poland for the refugee children.

Card Instructions for Packs of Love

Each backpack should include a card for the recipient. The card can be ei-ther handmade, computer generated, or purchased. What’s important is that a message of hope and caring be incorporated somewhere on the card. There are plenty of graphics of the Ukrainian Flag and sunflowers (their national flower) online.

Also, when signing the card, please be sure that the girl indicates she is a Girl Scout and her troop number. For girls who are a little older, they should also put the Council’s name on the card, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, so the recipients know where the backpacks originated.

Another option would be for the leader, especially for a troop of younger girls, to generate a computer message that the girls can paste onto the card. And just so you know, Microsoft does have Ukrainian in its “Translate Selected Text”, which is under “Review” on the toolbar.

“Glory to Ukraine” looks like this:

Card Instructions for Packs of Love

Слава Україні!

Drop Off Sites*
Please be sure to drop off backpacks at these locations only on the days and times indicated.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church Dates and Hours:
2050W 1100N, Chesterton,
Indiana 46304
September 6 - October 21
Tuesday - Friday 
9:00 a. m. - 1:00 p.m.
Vernon Hills, Greene Wood, and
Joliet Gathering Places
Dates and Hours:
650 N Lakeview Parkway
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
October 3 to 19
During shop hours
Camp Palos Troop House Lower Level Dates and Hours:
11736 S Will Cook Rd,
Palos Park, IL 60439
October 11, 12, and 13 
3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Backpack Assembly Events
If any girl, volunteer, troop, or service unit would like to help assemble backpacks, please join us for one of our assembly events.
Locations Dates and Hours:
Greene Wood Gathering Place Saturday, October 8
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Camp Palos Troop House
Upper Level 
Sunday, October 16
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Oak Lawn Elks Club
10720 S. Central Ave,
Chicago Ridge IL 60415
Sunday, October 16
II:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Werner Co., 555 Pierce Rd. Suite 300 
Itasca, IL 60143
(Contact Marty Poch at 708-533-1445 if the doors are locked Saturday)
Saturday, October 22
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

*Please continue to check the website, as additional drop off locations may be added.

Other Ideas of Ways to Show Support for Ukraine

Before you do any of the projects, including assembling the Packs of Love backpacks, it would be a good idea to discuss with the girls what it means to be a refugee. Even our Daisies can understand how difficult it would be for anyone who must leave their home because it is no longer safe. Our girls now can show children in another country how much they are being thought of and how much they are loved.

  • Find out if the troop would like to use some of their cookie money to help purchase items for the Packs of Love by taking an anonymous vote.
  • Make paper Ukrainian flags at your troop meeting that can be place in windows.
  • Plant sunflower seeds at your meeting place, a park, or other public venue. (Be sure to get permission before planting the flower seeds in public areas)
  • Paint small rocks with messages of love, hope, and peace at your troop meeting, and place them in areas in your community where people can see them.
Order the Patch Online

You can order the Packs of Love patch online at www.shopgirlscoutsgcnwi.org


 


Thank you for participating in the Packs of Love program! To help us track the program participation, please answer a few questions below.

Click Here

Thank you to a volunteer committee, headed by Karen Schillings, for putting this service project together. You can reach the committee directly for questions by emailing projectsupport@girlscoutsgcnwi.org