HARLINGEN — Some of the children coming into the shelter won’t even have a toothbrush.
Works wonders for their self-esteem, right?
Lorie Negrete is only 11 years old. However, she’s shown a powerful tenderness for children in painful circumstances. When she learned about the children who would seek refuge at Valley Haven Emergency Children’s Shelter, she was moved.
“It’s sad to imagine how parents treat their own kids instead of loving them,” said Lorie, a Junior Girl Scout in Troop 289.
The children’s shelter at 5501 W. Business 83 is scheduled to open later this year. When displaced children begin arriving, there will be plenty of donated supplies waiting for them. The supplies will include those collected by Lorie and her friend Madison Pallikan, 10.
When Lorie and Madison began searching for a project to earn their Bronze Award, raising supplies for the shelter was the logical choice. The Bronze Award is the highest achievement available to Junior Girl Scouts.
Last week, the supplies were picked up by parents and taken to the shelter.
“It went really good,” said Lorie, a sixth grader at Gutierrez Middle School. Junior Girl Scouts are in the fifth and sixth grades.
Lorie glanced into the back of the truck where boxes and bags of toothbrushes, toothpaste, baby wipes, books and clothing waited to be carried into the shelter.
“It shows how much people care about it,” Lorie said.
Madison, a Wilson Elementary fifth grader, was pretty happy, too. She’d also expressed a genuine sadness for the children who would stay there.
“I feel sad because they’re getting taken away from their parents because they are being neglected or abused,” Madison said.
The project came together at the behest of a phone call and some fliers. Lorie’s mother, Ludy Gomez, helped her come up with the idea to collect supplies for the shelter.
“I called Madison and asked her if she wanted to help me with this,” Lorie said.
Of course Madison said yes. Lorie’s mother helped them make fliers and they distributed them to downtown businesses. The fliers asked concerned citizens to make donations at those businesses to be picked up on July 28.
As the two girls went about the business of conducting their charity drive, parents showed their excitement.
“I love it,” said Madison’s mother, Holly Pallikan.
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The girls and their parents will continue accepting more donations this week. The final deadline for donating supplies to the girls’ project is Aug. 7. Those wishing to donate can call Holly Pallikan at 956-245-8071.