Jacey packs a food box at Our Lady of Mount Carmel food pantry.

Delivering Food With Heartfelt Prayer

Girl Scouts’ volunteer project at food pantry expands into bigger mission

It started with a goal of receiving Religious Emblems in their Girl Scout troop. But for Jacey and Cienna, their service project led to something even greater – a “call” to their peers to join them in their work.

This summer, Jacey and Cienna, both 13, decided to volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul’s food pantry at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in pursuit of their Religious Emblems.

“We already knew about St. Vincent de Paul’s work and had helped packed food boxes before this project. But we had never delivered the food with one of St. Vincent de Paul’s volunteers,” says Cienna.

Both girls arrived at the food pantry in Tempe and began packing the food boxes to be delivered to families in need that day. They also added Girl Scout cookie boxes donated from their troop.

Jacey and Cienna pack food boxes at Our Lady of Mount Carmel food pantry.

“Before we got to the house, I was scared. I was wondering what their house would look like and if the people would be kind,” says Jacey.

They quickly realized their fears were unfounded. A 16-year-old boy answered the door and led them inside to meet his mother. The mother was immediately overwhelmed to see the girls there with food.

“We looked at their cabinets and saw that they had nothing in them. We were surprised to see that and realized how grateful we are for what we have.”

The girls sat down to talk to the mother and soon found out that she was battling cancer. She hadn’t been to church in some time, so Jacey and Cienna asked if they could pray with her right then and there.

“We prayed to God to help her through this time with cancer and anything else that was difficult in her life. She was crying a little bit, but we could tell that they were tears of joy. That’s when we realized we wanted to come back and pray more with her.”

Jacey and Cienna came back to the same home two weeks later and prayed the Rosary with the mother. They were so moved by this experience, they decided to start a “Mini Vinnies” group at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, encouraging other teens to join them in packing food boxes at the pantry and seeking out more individuals in need of prayer.

“Our goal is to pray the Rosary with 50 people in need of prayer in August,” says Jacey, “especially those who can’t make it to church.”

Jacey’s mother Cindra, is helping the girls move forward with this group through a grassroots style campaign. She created a flyer explaining the ‘Mini Vinnies Rosary Project’ and has been passing it out at church, asking others to spread the word. Jacey and Cienna will also be working on recruiting new members at school and asking their friends. They can’t wait to recruit and train new teen Vinnie volunteers.

Jacey and Cienna pose for a photo at Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Does your church have a ‘Mini Vinnies’ chapter? If so, we’d love to hear about it and share with others the great work Arizona’s youth is doing to help so many in need! Send us a message on Facebook or email us at info@svdpaz.org to share about your group.