Local Girl Scouts raise money to help Bahamians affected by hurricane

  Troy O'Quin takes a selfie including members of 
  Girl Scout Troop 65113, their parents, Homewood 
  Mayor Richard Hofeld, left, and Michael Fountain, 
  honorary Bahamian consul, who accepted a donation 
  from the girls to help hurricane relief.
(Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)

When Morgan Wren Lawrence, 10, visited the Bahamas this summer with her family, she had fun snorkeling, seeing dolphins and other beautiful fish. She remember enjoying the beaches. 

But most of all, she remember the nice people she met along their journey.

  From left, Andromeda and 
  Morgan Wren Lawrence 
  present a certificate marking 
  their donation Bahamian 
  relief efforts to Michael 
  Fountain, honorary Bahamian 
  consul based in Chicago.
  (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Not long after the family returned to Homewood, Hurricane Dorian slammed the islands with historic force, virtually destroying Abaco and Grand Bahama islands.

She and her sister, Andromeda Lawrence, almost 8, decided they had to do something to help.

Morgan Wren approached her Girl Scout troop leaders with an idea for a fundraiser. Her troop leaders asked her to write a mission statement for the project. In it, she noted that many people died or were left homeless by the storm. 

"I think we should help because I've been there and met a lot of nice and kind people," she wrote. "I think it is important to take action so we can help the Bahamians feel they are not alone."

With their friends in Girl Scout Troop 65113 and in spite of rain-hampered plans, Morgan Wren and Andromeda raised $537.46 in two weeks working concessions at Homewood Baseball and Softball games. The snacks were donated, so 100 percent of the proceeds went to the Bahamas project, according to troop co-leader Hope Zawaski.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, Morgan Wren, Andromeda and the rest of the troop met at Homewood village hall to present the money to Michael Fountain, honorary Bahamian consul based in Chicago.  

He thanked the Scouts for their fundraising work.

"We're going to take pictures and let the whole world know what you did," Fountain said. "I'm so proud of you. We're going to let everybody know how you guys stepped up in order to help people. Every dollar, every dime, every penny makes a difference. We're in it together."

Fountain said the Bahamas Consulate Chicago is coordinating relief efforts through the Bahamas Forward Recovery Initiative. The weekend of Oct. 4 through 6 was designated the Bahamas Foreward Weekend of Giving, and Fountain was meeting with a number of organizations in the area that are engaged in relief efforts.

"As ongoing recovery efforts continue to reveal the extent of damages from Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas, citizens the world over are standing together to help survivors in the island nation get the supplies and necessities they now need in the aftermath of this unprecedented tragic event," he said in an email after the presentation.

Fountain is the first diplomatic representative of The Bahamas in Chicago and the second Bahamas honorary consul assigned to the U.S. An honorary consul works to protect the interests of nationals in the host country.

He is a director of external affairs for ComEd and is a lifelong Illinoisan who was accredited by the U.S. State Department as honorary consul in March 2014. His consular jurisdiction includes Illinois and nine other Midwest states.

He was joined in accepting the donation by Bonita Parker, ComEd external affairs manager who serves Homewood. She, too, lauded the scouts' efforts, noting that their generosity "makes you all great individuals. Continue to look for ways to help people, to open your hearts."

The girls have already heeded her suggestion and are not done raising money for Bahamas relief. They plan to work concessions at Homewood fall ball games Thursday, Oct. 12, starting at 6 p.m. at the Izaak Walton fields.  

  After the presentation of their donation, Morgan Wren
  Lawrence, center, and Andromeda Lawrence, take a 
  break with their mom, Yvonne Oldaker.
(Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)


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