Meeghan Rossi, a 2013 graduate of Jim Thorpe Area High School, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award.

The Gold Award is the highest honor awarded by the Girl Scouts of the USA and challenges Girl Scouts in grades nine through 12 to make a positive impact in the world or their community.

After identifying an issue, a Scout working toward her Gold Award must assemble a team, create a plan and gather feedback, and educate and inspire others to also make a difference.

To earn her Gold Award, Rossi worked to expand and restock the food pantry at Christ Lutheran Church in Jim Thorpe.

"I spoke with my pastor (Rev. John Hassler) and asked him what the church needed that I could do, which would be self-sustaining," said Rossi.

"He mentioned that the food pantry was almost bare, and that we've had so many people that we've had to restock it every month. Together, we thought of the idea to expand the pantry. I told him I would also do a food drive to restock it."

She obtained funds from the church's outreach committee to purchase and assemble three shelving units for the pantry.

To help fill the pantry's new shelves, she also held two food drives: one at Jim Thorpe Area High School, and another through her church and local Girl Scout troops and Boy Scout Troop 555.

Rossi also worked with area churches and the Rev. Bill Ritz of St. Peter's United Methodist Church in Emerald to gather even more food for the needy, eventually filling the new shelving units and two recently donated freezers.

"This project was close to my heart because I know what it's like for people to be in need," she said. "We live in a community where many families do not make enough money to provide everything the family needs. I know that people definitely appreciate the help that food pantries can give to them."

Rossi hopes to continue doing volunteer work while a freshman at Lycoming College, including working with younger Girl Scouts near school. She is also searching for more volunteer opportunities close to campus.

"Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and this young woman exemplifies leadership in all its forms," said Jane Ransom, Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. "She saw a need in her community and took action. Her extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership, is making the world a better place."

Rossi will be recognized by her Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA, during a ceremony in June. Last year, just 80 Girl Scouts in GSHPA earned the Gold Award.

While in high school, Rossi was in National Honor Society, History Club, SADD and secretary of Lutheran Youth Fellowship. She is studying psychology at Lycoming College.