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Girl Scout earns Gold Award by addressing hunger in hometown

Gold Award Website - Emily Ehrmanntraut

Emily Ehrmanntraut’s project, Food Pantry Fill-Up, gathered food for needy in Hopkinton

HOPKINTON, NH – Gold Award Girl Scout Emily Ehrmanntraut, 18, of Contoocook tackled the issue of hunger in her community for her Gold Award, which girls earn by addressing community issues in meaningful and lasting ways. Her project was called Food Pantry Fill-Up.

Gold Award Girl Scouts have shown remarkable dedication to improving their communities and the world. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest possible honor for a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador, and is the mark of the truly remarkable.

Hopkinton is a rural town outside of Concord with about 5,600 people, where 86% of the residents own their own homes, and the median household income is about $85,000. Nevertheless, hunger is an issue, with 4.2% living below the poverty line. Contoocook is one of three communities within Hopkinton, and its business hub.

“We supply food to a minimum of 50 families a week,” said Marilyn Bresaw, Human Services Coordinator for the town of Hopkinton, and Ehrmanntraut’s project advisor. “In the wintertime, more.”

“While hunger is an issue all around the world, sometimes I forget that it is also an issue in our own towns,” said the Girl Scout.

Addressing that need on the local level, Ehrmanntraut decided to create food donation bins and distribute them around town. In two months, she collected hundreds of items for the town’s food pantry that would not otherwise have gone to the needy.

Ehrmanntraut had to hone her skills in communication and persuasion to gain the necessary help to build the bins, locate them around town, and publicize their purpose. Bresaw said she saw Ehrmanntraut become more confident as she worked on her project.

“She had to go out to the public and present herself and her idea and try to get people engaged and get people to help her” Bresaw said. “Then, seeing something you do become a success, that’s always a good thing.”

Bresaw said Hopkinton has had a food pantry for about 30 years. Having this help means a lot to her, and this project made the townspeople more aware that the pantry exists and that they have neighbors in need. The pantry is filled only by donations.

Ehrmanntraut worked hard to spread the word of the project, sharing the news on social media, putting up posters, handing out fliers, and speaking to the Rotary, Hopkinton Girl Scouts, local business owners, principals, church officials, and townspeople.

“I learned that I can overcome obstacles and communicate effectively with others,” she said. “I learned how to use my resources wisely, including networking with people in town.”

Within the first month, nearly 200 food items were donated through the bins, and more have poured in since then. The most successful bin was located at the local market in Contoocook. “It’s a win-win,” she said. “The small business makes some extra sales while the food pantry continues to be supported. Donations continue at a steady rate.”

Ehrmanntraut thanked Bresaw for helping her gain more knowledge of the needs of the community; Mark Winzeler, who helped her brainstorm, design and build her project; and the countless volunteers who help keep the Food Pantry stocked with the donations that continue to come in.

Having graduated from Hopkinton High School as a Girl Scout Ambassador, Ehrmanntraut is now a student at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, studying mechanical engineering. She is a true G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ who is prepared for success through the Girl Scout Leadership experience.

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains honored Ehrmanntraut and 11 other Gold Award Girl Scouts at its Young Women of Distinction ceremonies Nov. 9 and 10.

Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities. Emily Ehrmanntraut has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world.

About the Girl Scout Gold Award

  • Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
  • A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
  • The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
  • Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
  • Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
  • University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
  • 12 young women have earned their Gold Award in the 2018-19 membership year in New Hampshire and Vermont as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
  • The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable!

About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit