Easy Peasy Split Pea Soup: $0 for 4 servings, Sometimes Things are Easy Like Being A Girl Scout Leader
March 22, 2021
I have been a Girl Scout Leader for seven years now. Seven years! The early years when the girls were young was actually really hard. I’m a pediatrician and not a teacher. They were really rambunctious and I felt like we were just giving them snacks all the time. Now they are 7th graders, and it’s easier. One of our troop members emailed us asking about doing a service project for homeless/shelterless people. In a very age appropriate way, she wanted to buy things for them that she thinks they need to ease their lives. And I felt like I’m finally the troop leader I need to be. Because indeed each of those girls are future leaders, and will help the world. Sometimes in the midst of planning badges and making time for meeting with other parents, I forget that. But this email reminded me, that Girl Scouts has always been a leadership program and about teaching them service. I was never good at crafts and sometimes did a haphazard job teaching them things. But I’m a leader and I’ve lived a life of service. I responded to this particular troop member’s email and it was very meaningful to me.
But first! Let’s talk about how easy peasy split pea soup can be! This soup was free. Literally. Neighborhood people come by and give things to my mother-in-law all the time. I’m not sure why. Our house clearly is single-family home and monetarily prosperous. One of her neighborhood friends gave her some food, very much like she was a shelter-less person. I think it’s because folks probably know she will put everything to good use. This included a package of dried peas.
I was going to donate it to the San Diego Food Bank, but things have been so busy. It makes more sense to eat them and donate money. We do monthly donations and often include the San Diego Food Bank. Since this is not directly environmentaly, I don’t put this on the blog. But they are a very effective organization and are matching right now https://sandiegofoodbank.org/match/. If you donate $1, they will provide 5 meals to a fellow San Diegan.
So yesterday was the first day I used something from the neighbor. I used 1 and half cups of green split peas. So this was free. I presoaked them and made soup in the Instapot.
Easy Peasy Split Pea Soup
- 1.5 cups of split peas donated by a neighbor, soaked and drained
- 1/2 onion if you have it (I was onioned out and did not do it)
- 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced in whatever size you want
- 1.5 tablespoons of better than bullion
- some salt
- some pepper
- some minced garlic
- some thyme
- filled it to about 6 cups of water or about 3/4 of my instapot
- stirred it up! You could probably put other stuff in it (LOL I even put some left over mustard in it for fun, it kind of clumped so wasn’t the best idea!)
- Just press 30 minutes on the soup function. I quick released.
And that’s it! Easy peasy split green pea soup. It was free! Some things should be easy. And my response to our girl scout was easy, and I hope impactful. Being a cost-effective and frugal environmentalist has helped me figure out how to be the Girl Scout Leader I always wanted to be. Of course her name is not included, and this response is my general response to the world. Forgive my grammatical mistakes.
“I am so happy that you reached out about your community service project idea. Indeed, that has been always the ultimate goal for our troop – to serve as mentors for you and for you as a troop to start self-determining what direction to go next as a group.
I am impressed that you put thought into your email and your proposal. Indeed, I think your urge to help those homeless/shelterless individuals speaks to a very deep need we all have to do something tactile right now to help. I think like many other troop parents, I wanted to let you know that Dr. XXX has been doing service work from about the time I was your age throughout my career. True service is hard, and just like with everything – if you choose to live a life of service to your community you will have successes and failures. Some projects will work out great, and some will be efforts will be more disappointments. Ms. Montgomery and I are not here to tell you how to do service nor to protect you from the mistakes, but to give you advice here and there and to help you along the process – as adults who have gone down this path already. Obviously adults haven’t really solved the answer nor know everything nor much of anything, as evidenced by the state of our world. I hope that your generation will do better.
Given that! I still know a little bit. I know that your email tells me you want to help and you want to help in a more tactile/individual way. This is powerful. Looking just superficially at your proposal, it would actually be quite expensive. Pricing out a bottle is at least $10, socks $1-2, toothbrushes $1-2, gift card to local food is at least $10. So $25 for one person to give out one packet would be out of reach. Remember out entire budget for the troop is only about $2000 a year, and the cookie sales makes up almost half of those proceeds. So for $200, you would be making kits for just about 8 people. One could argue that those 8 peopple would matter and the impact one makes can’t be quantified – which is valid. My only hesitation is that I’ve begun as a litter-picker to clean up several homeless encampments around PB and around my office, and my conclusion from the massive amount of waste that these homeless encampments have – is that there is not a lack of things that they have. Indeed I’ve found many reusable water bottles throughout those sites and all the things that you want to donate.
If you want to proceed in this cause, my suggestion would be
(1) Bring it up during the next troop meeting, and see what your peers think. All worthwhile projects are better when they are done together and in a group. Any use of troop funds needs to be agreed on by the troop anyway, and this is wonderful and moves us onto a more collaborative girl-led mode. Any project that requires substantial budget or time, really needs to be discussed together. If you want some time on the agenda, I think that would be fantastic.
(2) Invite a homeless/shelterless advocate to come talk to us. I think this would be very powerful. There are already people working on this issue, why don’t we invite someone to come speak to the group? Then you can learn more about the root causes and maybe get ideas about how to be impactful. If this is something you would like, we’d be happy to help you find someone who is connected in some way to the troop and our families.
(3) Partner with San Diego Food Bank. This is a group that many San Diegans donate and volunteer with. Right now they are doubling their donations. So for $1 donated, they make 5 meals for many shelter-less individuals. Right now the Jacbos and Cushman foundation are matching. So $1 actually is doubled to $2, and you can give 10 meals now. We could do a food donation drive it you would like, where girls donate food from our pantries and you and your mom would drop it off as part of the troop. These service ideas are a bit more cost-effective and I think also meets your desires to do something. You could call them or a similar organization like Father’s Joe Villages and ask them, what do they need? It would be safer to provide these established organizations things they need to outreach to these people who need help. As your troop leader, I have to be mindful of your safety. I have found very dangerous things at different encampments. Shelterless people are just like all people, and we don’t know them and can’t really approve any of the girls approaching unknown people to give them things. But the above would be options.
(4) Write a group letter to County Board of Supervisors or Todd Gloria. We did this already for an environmental topic. If you wanted to write a group letter, and invite parents and the other girls to co-sign – this would be very powerful. Pretty much just put out your thoughts on paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect. just write something. And I’ll bet you a lot of us would cosign with you. Your local government has millions of dollars at their disposal. Trust me. Your parents and all of us pay lots of taxes. You as a future tax-payer have the power to advocate where that budget for the county goes to. Our troop has $2000 a year, they have millions. It’s always been amazing to me that a simple advocacy letter of campaign can have such an outsized impact of problems.
(5) Consider this for your Silver Award. You will be doing a substantial project and likely need to raise funds for it. For a project like you want to do, it might be part of a silver award which would be very powerful.
I hope this helps. I absolutely love your thought processes and where you are going. I hpoe this email guides you on the next step you will take. Let me know and keep on reaching out.
I thought that was a useful part of my morning, responding to one email. Definitely blogging has helped me be a better mentor and leader to this group of girls I have been committed to for the last seven years. Maybe being a Girl Scout leader should be like making soup, Easy Peasy!
And this weekend’s trash art! Still thinking about butterflies.