Local Girl Scout sets up food pantry at Garden of Hope

Local Girl Scout Gracie Zech decided to tackle the highest project you can in the Girl Scouts and went for a gold award project.
The stipulations of the project are that a minimum of 80 hours must be spent, it must be sustained, and it must give back to the community in some way.
The food pantry is stocked with non-perishable food items and even contains a drawer specifically for feminine hygiene products.

“Gracie is a wonderful young lady. She’s been working in the community doing different things most of her life, and it kind of culminated into something like this,” stated Gracie’s father, Ken Zech.

It didn’t take long for Gracie to look around to find a need to address. Scottsboro and Jackson County have been facing a food insecurity and homeless crisis.

“This project is exactly the kind of involvement by individuals that our community needs to help solve problems large and small,” stated Judge John H. Graham, who was also present for the pantry’s grand opening. “It may come as a surprise to some, but we have a significant homeless population in Scottsboro, and we have many in our hometown who don’t have enough to eat. This food library is a kind and caring act by a thoughtful young woman. If we all could be more like her, ours would be a better place for everyone.”

Judge Graham stated the Drug Court and Family Wellness Court will see to the pantry being stocked. Veterans Court’s Judge Brent Benson, who was also present, stated they will also see to sustaining the pantry.

“I’m glad Gracie had the foresight and thoughtfulness to do something like this,” Benson stated. “We certainly need it in our community, and we’re going to make sure it stays.”
Representatives from Scottsboro City Hall will also contribute to sustain the pantry.

Scottsboro Events and Marketing Coordinator Katie Kirkland stated, “This is going to be something very beneficial to our community, and I’m really happy Gracie was able to do this with the support of the Girl Scouts. I hope the people in the community take advantage of this, and I also hope people will come and donate products to it. Whether that’s dropping off at City Hall, Drug Court, Family Wellness Court or Veterans Court, and that this becomes a community project that we can all be proud of.”

Family Wellness Court Coordinator Erica Kirkland-Weeks stated, “This is a tremendous resource for the community. Oftentimes we are not aware of how many people are in need in our area and in need of basic items such as clothing, food and shelter.”

Gracie also works part time at the Jackson County District Attorney’s office, and some of the staff were present to celebrate the grand opening with her.

A representative stated, “We are so proud of Gracie for doing this and for all her hard work!”

If you would like to donate to Gracie’s food pantry, it is located at the Garden of Hope on Broad Street. If you’re driving by and see some empty shelves, citizens are encouraged to fill them whenever they see fit. Donations can also be dropped off at Veterans Court, Family Wellness Court, Drug Court and City Hall.

Among those pictured are, Gracie Zech, Melissa and Ken Zech, Allen Ainsworth, Veronica Necklaus, Deanna Hughes, Jane McClendon, Melanie Wright, Crystal Kilgore, Meagan Rhymer, Erica Kirkland-Weeks, Judge John Graham, Judge Brent Benson, Katie Kirkland. Not pictured are Drug Court Coordinator Wendy Trott and Family Wellness Court Judge Don Word.

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