Selling cookies each year is a special tradition for Girl Scouts across the country. The funds raised from boxes of Thin Mints and Samoas help support important activities for the scouts, like field trips and summer camps. One special troop in New York City got the opportunity to sell cookies for the first time this year: Troop 6000, the city’s first-ever Girl Scout troop based out of homeless shelters.
Created last year, most of the troop’s roughly two dozen members live in a motel operating as a shelter in Long Island City, Queens, as well as in other shelters throughout the city.
The Girl Scouts of the USA prides itself on teaching scouts life skills such as responsibility, confidence, problem-solving and leadership. Troop 6000 is already a huge success story: The girls quickly accomplished their original goal of selling a 6,000 boxes.
“I wasn’t expecting [becoming homeless] to ever happen to me,” 12-year-old Karina, a founding member of Troop 6000, told Refinery29. “You hear about it, you see people that live on the streets, but you wouldn’t think an actual homeless person would look like me or all the other beautiful girls around here.”
Homeless children comprise 40% of those housed by New York City’s shelter system, according to the New York Times. Troop 6000 hopes to eventually expand to 14 additional shelters and comprise 500 girls.
“The biggest impact that we see and when you talk to the girls you’ll hear them say, is that they belong to something, they have a sisterhood within the other Girl Scouts,” Girl Scouts of Greater New York CEO Meredith Maskara told ABC News. “They talk to other girls who may be in their same situation who feel alone, and they feel like they have a stronger sense of community and belonging overall.”
For homeless Girl Scouts, the logistics of selling cookies in the traditional ways (door-to-door, for example), can pose a problem. To help out, Kellogg’s NYC, a cereal cafe in Union Square, offered the Troop 6000 girls space for a stand to sell their cookies. In fact, after hawking boxes at the Kellogg’s Cafe, the scouts sold over 17,000 boxes! Proceeds from sales of Kellogg’s specialty menu items will also be donated to Troop 6000.
We’re so impressed by these Girl Scouts and their cookie-selling skills! Congratulations to all the girls in Troop 6000 and best wishes for their continued success!