Columbia Scouts Fill a Truck for the troops
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Columbia - posted Tue., Mar. 19, 2013
Jennifer Bonaiuto said that she is third-generation military, which is one of the reasons it was so important to her to help facilitate the Fill a Truck event held at Columbia Ford. Bonaiuto, who heads up Daisy Troop 65023 in Columbia, helped man the March 16 event with troop co-leaders, parents, Scouts and members of the Air National Guard out of Orange, Conn. Among the group was Bonaiuto’s husband, Ritchie, “eight years in the Air Force and a disabled Desert Storm vet,” she said.
Bonaiuto said her daughter, Morgan, bought cookies for the troops for her seventh birthday, in lieu of gifts. Other members of her Daisy Troop decided that they wanted to get involved, too. During cookie-selling season, “every girl in the troop sold ‘Cookies for Heroes,’” said Bonaiuto. The Fill a Truck event was envisioned as a continuation of those efforts. “I’m very proud of these girls,” said Bonaiuto.
Bonaiuto contacted the Orange Air National Guard unit for help in facilitating the event. While the exact beneficiaries hadn’t yet been identified, Bonaiuto was adamant that all cookies would go to a Connecticut group currently deployed to some location in southwest Asia.
A very large, camouflage-painted truck served to help lure potential donors to the side of the road. Festooned with American flags and red and blue balloons, it was undeniably eye-catching. “I wanted something that would get people’s attention,” said Bonaiuto. While the truck could certainly transport a large number of Girl Scout cookies, Bonaiuto said that it would actually go home empty. “It’s more a virtual event,” she said. Donations collected at the Fill a Truck event would go to purchase boxes of cookies, which would then be transported to troops overseas. “And every last dollar will go to the troops,” said Bonaiuto. “That is very important to me.”
Bonaiuto stressed the support provided by Columbia Ford. The company paid for all advertising associated with the event, e-mailed all customers past and present about it, and provided the host location. “They’re even feeding my girls pizza for lunch,” said Bonaiuto. “Columbia Ford has been very, very gracious.”
According to http://www.cookiesforheroes.com/, the Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s goal is to fill a truck with 120,000 boxes of cookies to be delivered to American service men and women. As of March 18, the goal was 83 percent met, at 100,056 boxes, according to the site.