A group of girls (and a couple of adults) huddled in front of their new creation at Jefferson Heights elementary today, posing for photos. The weather was chilly, but if they were cold, you couldn’t tell through their excitement. It was the installation of the first of eight “Pencil Boxes,” a project that these girls, members of Girls Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma, had worked hard to get to this point.
Sixth-grader Cairees Orn, along with Seventh-graders Sydney Burrow, Allyson Ritchie, Alyssa Denby, and Shyanna Grimes put in a solid 15 hours combined doing the cutting, drilling, and painting for their first Pencil Box, which is, unsurprisingly, shaped like a pencil.
A Pencil Box is similar in concept to the popular Blessing Boxes or Little Libraries that show up outside of churches and schools. The boxes are filled with food and pantry items, or for Little Libraries, with books. Items are free to anyone who may need them, and the community is encouraged to help keep it filled as well.
A Pencil Box is specifically built to help give school supplies to a student who may be in need of pencils, paper, markers—everything you’d have on your typical school supplies list.
School supplies were donated from retailers like Merrifield Office Supply and Walmart, to give the troop a head start on filling up the boxes.
Troop Leader Rachel Burrow told Sapulpa Times on Monday afternoon that the project was the project needed to gain their Silver Award. The troop previously earned their Bronze award in June of 2018 by creating care packages for cancer patients. They contained socks, candy, disposable toothbrushes, crossword puzzles and more. Burrow said they donated over 100 bags to Cancer Treatment of America. Burrow says the Silver Award requires an ongoing solution and a commitment to at least 50 hours of work. She estimated that combined, these Pencil Boxes would require 100 to 120 hours of work. More than enough to earn that Silver Award!
Tom Orn, Cairees’ grandfather, helped the girls with the cutting and drilling. “Some of them were scared at first, they didn’t’ want to do it,” he said. “But we showed them how to do it the right way, how to keep your hands clear, and they caught on real quick,” Orn said.
Burrow told Sapulpa Times that the girls were planning to take a breather and then start on the next Pencil Box, this one to be shaped like a school bus. All in all, there will be eight boxes, with four different designs.
The new Pencil Box is located at Jefferson Heights elementary and is within view of one of their external cameras, in order to discourage tampering or vandalism. Burrow said the school may put a lock on the box during the summertime but would be freely available to any who need it during school hours.