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Religious Leaders Earn A Merit ‘Badge’ From Girl Scouts

Rabbi Joshua Lief presents a check to Beth Casey, chief executive officer for Girls Scouts of Black Diamond Council for the purchase of 900 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Looking on in back from left are, the Rev. Erica Harvey, Vance Church; Becky Shilling-Rodocker, executive director of The Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling; Laura Mendoza from the Soup Kitchen; Beth Zarate, executive director of Catholic Charities West Virginia; and Diana Bell, case management supervisor from the 18th Street Neighborhood Center.

WHEELING — Several local religious communities — led by Temple Shalom in Wheeling — are providing more than spiritual nourishment to those in need. They are bringing dessert to many tables.

On Wednesday, Rabbi Joshua Lief from Temple Shalom presented a $4,500 check to the Girls Scouts of Black Diamond Council for the purchase of 900 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. The cookies are being distributed to the Catholic Charities’18th Street Neighborhood Center, the Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling, and The House of the Carpenter. Also the St. Matthew Episcopal Church’s food pantry will receive cookies along with Laughlin Chapel.

Lief said the project is a win-win situation for those in need and the Girl Scouts who were forced to shut down the in-person sale of the cookies in March due to the COVID-pandemic. There are still many cookies that have not been sold and Lief continues to accept donations to buy and distribute them. Joining Lief in the project are Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Conference of West Virginia, and the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

“I am very grateful to Bishop Brennan, the Catholic Diocese, the Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, Episcopal bishop, the Methodist Conference Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, Vance Church, Youth Services System, and of course, the congregation here at Temple Shalom,” Lief said Wednesday as the cookies were being distributed from the parking lot of the Temple.

“Our plan is to put 900 cookies into the hands of hungry people and make people smile.”

Beth Casey, chief executive officer for the Girls Scouts Black Diamond Council, said it is a true blessing to have the cookies purchased and then offered to charitable organizations that feed those in need. Also it allows the Girls Scouts to receive credit for selling their cookies.

“We could not have our booth sales due to the virus. We had to shut down in mid-March. … Our girls have big dreams and goals to match. We’ve very grateful that Rabbi Lief stepped up to do this.

“This is a way for Girls Scouts to give back, especially during this time. We are proud to partner with these organizations and work together.”

Becky Shilling-Rodocker, executive director of The Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling, said she was very grateful for the donation of cookies. “We’ve had people and some of the girls donate cookies to us in the past, but not this many,” she said.

For more information on how to join, volunteer, or donate to Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, call 800-756-7616 or visit the council’s website at www.bdgsc.org.

Anyone wishing to help purchase more cookies, can send checks or credit card information to Temple Shalom at 23 Bethany Pike, Wheeling, W.Va. 26003, or call the temple at 304-233-4870.

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