It’s that time of year again when Girl Scouts put their fundraising hats on and sell as many cookies as they can to earn badges.
The money raised from the sale of these cookies go back to the local troop which can be donated to much-needed community projects.
But one Girl Scout Troop serves the needs of the homeless community, particularly young girls, giving them so much more than badges.
Girl Scout Troop 6000 was set up specifically for homeless girls living in shelters in New York City.
There are approximately 70,000 people living in New York City shelters, 23,000 of whom are children under the age of 18, including 12,000 girls, according to Girl Scouts NYC.
Girl Scout Troop 6000 helps give these girls a place to call home, offers them a connection to a community of children in similar situations and teaches them essential skills.
Giselle Burgess founded the troop in 2016 during a tough period in her life when her rental home was sold and she and her 5 children found themselves homeless.
The Queens mom moved into a shelter where she found families crammed into one-bedroom units with no common areas for kids to hang out.
She decided to start the troop to help these children find a community, joining forces with City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
What started as a small group of about 20 girls from one shelter has expanded to over 700 members in 15 locations.
The girls learn coding, have met lawyers and journalists at career day, camped in upstate New York, and sell tens of thousands of boxes of cookies during Girl Scout cookie-selling season.
Despite the pandemic this year’s cookie selling has smashed all expectations with the girls selling more than 400,000 boxes so far this year, as reported by Good Morning America (GMA).
This compares to the 25,000 boxes sold in 2020.
Girl scout troop director Heidi Schmidt says a need to show more kindness during such a tough year has been driving the impressive sales.
“People are saying that they’re buying the cookies to give to their food delivery workers as extra tips as well as donating to food banks and giving to their elderly neighbors,” she told GMA.
But these hardworking girl scouts see their troop as so much more than joining forces to sell cookies.
Hailey, a 17-year-old girl scout from Troop 6000 told Good Morning America: “Not many kids our age are experiencing homelessness so it’s nice to be able to talk to people who are going through the same struggles as you.”
While 7-year-old Melanie added: “I can be with three of my real sisters and I can also be with all of these sisters.”
Proceeds from the sale of the cookies go toward financing troop activities and earning badges.
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