MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

June 30, 2014

Car seats for a cause: Charity provides goods for infants, toddlers

Fort Gibson High School graduate Whitney Stroup is committed to providing car seats for infants and toddlers — and she hopes others will share her commitment.

Stroup, 18, is asking people to donate a car seat each year to the Infant Supply Closet, a Catholic charity that provides goods to needy families with infants or toddlers.

She said she is contacting potential donors, asking them to sign a contract stating they will donate an infant or toddler car seat each year to the Infant Supply Closet, 1220 W. Broadway.

“The most important thing I want to make clear is that it is wonderful if people want to donate once,” said Stroup, a member of Girl Scout Troop 519.

“But what I really need is people, organizations or businesses that are willing to donate a car seat every year to follow.”

Members of Stroup’s Girl Scout troop collect and stock donations for the supply closet.

“I was talking to Liz Roberts, who runs the Infant Supply Closet, and she was telling me how they never have toddler-sized car seats,” Stroup said.

“Once a child grows out of his first car seat, are you going to buy food to feed the children or are you going to buy a car seat?”

Roberts said the Infant Supply Closet needs infant-sized car seats and booster seats as well as toddler-sized seats.

Roberts said Friday the charity had given out its last two car seats.

“Car seats can run over $100,” Roberts said.

“The last one we bought was over $189.”

Stroup said she had seen car seats in at Walmart and Target priced at $60 to $100.

Roberts said the donated car seats must meet the 5-Star ease of use rating by the National Highway Safety Administration.

Stroup said she got a list of businesses from the Fort Gibson Chamber of Commerce and already has received a pledge from one business.

She said she gives each pledge to Roberts,     who will call the donors each year, reminding them of the pledge.

“She is serious,” Roberts said.

Stroup, who has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, said she is submitting the car seat project as her Gold Award project. The Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.

Recipients can help change their communities and be eligible for college scholarships, according to the Girl Scout website.

“It’s the equivalent to being an Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts,” Stroup said. “It shows that if they work hard, they can make a difference in the community.”

One of the qualifications for a Gold Award project is whether it solves a community problem not just in the present, but for years to come, she said.

Stroup said she will remain committed to the car seat program, whether it is approved for a Gold Award or not.

She said she also seeks to be a lifelong scout.

Badges, patches and pins cover the tan vest of Stroup’s Girl Scout uniform.

She said she joined Girl Scouts as a first-grader at Woodall School.

Last summer, Troop 519 toured Europe. Stroup said sites included London, Paris, Rome and Lucerne, Switzerland.

During high school, Stroup played trumpet in the band and was part of the swimming team.

She will enter Truman State University in the fall and major in exercise science.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 orcspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

You can help

To offer yearly donations of car seats to the Infant Supply Closet, contact Whitney Stroup at (918) 351-5496.

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