Cookie, can donations help scouts make up for lost fundraising

May 31, 2020

It’s the time of the year when Girl Scouts sell cookies, and Boy Scouts have their annual yard sale to raise money for activities throughout the year. 

But Melissa Garde Root, the Cookie Mom, or the leader in charge of all of the cookies, for Rochester Girl Scout troop 62150 had a dilemma: A surplus of boxes, and the inability to sell them in public due to covid restrictions.  

So, she decided to start giving them away.

Since April, the troop has been asking residents to buy boxes that will be donated to frontline workers at St. Luke’s Hospital and the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center.

Root said the workers “loved them and were very appreciative” for the donations.

Although the girls cannot be together and sell cookies, she said her daughter has been able to see the work in action.

A few boxes of cookies that Root purchased are stashed in her car for when they have to pick up food or go to an essential business. Her daughter is able to watch her mom give a box to an essential worker whenever they come to their car. Though she still has cookies left for purchase, it’s a way that she is able to teach her daughter a lesson in philanthropy.

“Her smile is just as big as their smiles,” said Root.

The Scouts BSA (formerly the Boy Scouts) have been able to modify some of their activities to hold them online. 

Scouts have still been able to work on their cooking requirement by making breakfast, lunch and dinner for their family instead of their troop. They have also been able to hold board reviews (which allow scouts to move up to the next rank) virtually. 

However, the virus has still “destroyed fundraising,” Scoutmaster Kevin Thompson said. 

The scouts in Troop 31 rely heavily on donations they get for directing traffic at the Country Fair, which has been cancelled this year. They also usually hold a yard sale, which has been rescheduled. 

The town’s first female BSA troop, Troop 31G, were going to have their first fundraiser in March selling Funache chocolate at Shaws, but that was cancelled. Plans for a bake sale couldn’t go through either, the troop’s Scoutmaster Mike Blanchard said.  

In these trying financial times, someone asked Thompson if the troop took cans as donations and he thought “well, that’s a great idea.” 

So he set up a container in his yard at the beginning of May with the troop’s number on it and put out a call for donations on social media. 

The fundraiser was enormously successful, with Thompson bringing at least a full truck a day to an outside can machine and splitting the profit between the boy troop and girl troop. Sometimes he would find the bin full again by the time he got home. 

“People are very generous. Some have just sent checks,” Thompson said. 

Blanchard is also excited about the results of the fundraiser. “Just the other night, I ordered our troop flag! This is a momentous occasion actually, this means we are official! The girls are going to be so excited about this,” he said.  

The fundraiser has been disrupted a bit by someone taking some of the cans from Thompson’s yard. He now has a camera set up to monitor the property. 

He tries to have some compassion for whoever it was who did it, because he said if someone is in such a state that they are taking cans for cash, he can’t imagine what things are like for them. 

But at the same time, “it really hurts what we are trying to do. Every single bag is very important,” Thompson said. 

To drop off cans, visit 134 Hartley Road in Rochester. 

To make cookie purchases, message Melissa Garde Root on Facebook.