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Dear Girl Scouts,
What a week it was for the East Coast—and for Girl Scouting. Many people remain displaced and in shelters, while others are left to deal with damage to their homes and communities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost loved ones during the storm and with those who continue to struggle in what will be a long road to recovery. Yet with each passing day, the region is getting back on its feet. I am so proud that throughout it all, Girl Scouts in even the worst hit areas have done what they do best: rolled up their sleeves and gone to work serving others in a time of need.
I can report that we at Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) are up and running after our facilities lost power last week. (Our apologies to those of you who tried to reach us.) Not only are we back, but we are supporting our Girl Scout councils in the affected areas and throughout the country. Eight councils bore the brunt of Hurricane Sandy, four councils in New Jersey and four in New York. Councils, like GSUSA, are still in the midst of assisting staff members who have been affected by the storm and assessing damage to their facilities. It has meant so much to us that many of our Girl Scout sisters and friends have taken the time to reach out to us from around the country and throughout the world to ask how they can help. In initial response to those inquiries, we are activating a plan based on prior regional disaster efforts that had an impact on girls and Girl Scouting.
To ensure that the councils are getting the kind of support that they need, we will be lifting fundraising restrictions to enable girls to raise money for Girl Scouting recovery efforts in the eight councils. We encourage you to give to Girl Scouting for recovery in these eight councils. Contributions may be directed to a specific council or councils through their online giving sites. GSUSA also will establish a Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund to help address the needs of councils affected by the storm, and these funds will be directed to those councils once they have assessed their needs. To give, go to donate.girlscouts.org/hurricanerecovery where you will find links to the online giving sites for all eight councils, as well as the giving form for the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund.
We and the councils thank everyone for the outpouring of support. For now, the affected councils ask for time to assess and focus on their specific needs and to get back up and running. Although material donations and troop offers of assistance are appreciated, the councils are not currently in a position to process and organize them. Rest assured that you will hear very soon how you can further assist our councils in their recovery efforts. Girl Scouts have displayed tremendous courage, confidence, and character during this trying time, and I know they will continue to do so as the region continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
Anna Maria Chávez
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of the USA
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