A group of junior Girl Scouts wanted to accomplish three things with their Bronze Award project.
They hoped to make an everlasting impact, to help animals and to honor a slain police officer who was passionate about dogs.
The girls created a pet pantry at the Officer Jordan H. Sheldon Memorial Dog Park at the Cornelius Road Park and hope it will inspire others as well as be a lasting tribute to Sheldon, who was gunned down on a traffic stop in May 2019. Sheldon was a K-9 handler for the Mooresville Police Department and was known for his love of his partner, Ramon, and his personal dogs.
Sandra Smith, the co-leader of Girl Scout Troop 2096, said the pet pantry evolved when the girls began thinking about their project for the Bronze Award. The Bronze Award is the highest award that Girl Scout Juniors can achieve.
Smith said the idea arose from another project in Mooresville, the Kindness Closet. The Kindness Closet is a local nonprofit which provides basic household and hygiene items not covered by any services in the area. Local families can come to the Mooresville Closet or the Kindness Cupboard in the Mooresville public library parking lot to get items they need.
The girls decided to do something similar except to provide supplies for pets.
To find the perfect spot for the pet pantry, the girls sent out emails asking for suggestions, and then, after deciding the Jordan Sheldon Memorial Dog Park would be appropriate, they set about making it happen.
That meant getting permission from the Town of Mooresville.
Mayor Miles Atkins said that was an easy request to approve, adding that the pet pantry will be an asset to the park and the town.
The scouts went to Lowe’s to buy the supplies and came up with the design for the pet pantry. They constructed the pantry themselves and then painted and waterproofed it before installing it at the park.
Smith said the entire project is aimed at teaching the girls lessons in how to get things done, sticking with the project to see it through and making a difference.
“The girls did it all,” she said.
Like the Kindness Closet, the pet pantry will rely on donations to keep it stocked. Smith said anything pet-related is welcome with the exception of perishable items.
She said the goal is to spread the word about the pet pantry and encourage folks to donate items or if someone needs something, they can grab it from the pantry.
“We are hopeful it catches on and that people will visit the pantry when they have the opportunity,” she said.
The Mooresville Board of Commissioners recently recognized the girls for their hard work in making the pet pantry a reality.
Smith said she believes the girls learned the lessons intended and helped their community with their Bronze Award project.
“The board and I are so proud of Troop 2096 for earning their Bronze Award,” he said. “The girls worked extremely hard from start to finish on their Pet Pantry project, and it’s a really thoughtful way to honor Officer Jordan Sheldon. We know it will be a wonderful asset to the Officer Jordan H. Sheldon Memorial Dog Park for years to come.”