A homeless shelter-based Girl Scout troop in New York City is having their very first cookie sale, and it’s about time. Made up of more than 20 girls, Troop 6000 has set the ambitious goal of selling 6,000 boxes of the world-famous Girl Scout cookies, in honor of their troop name.
As part of a joint effort between the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, and the Department of Homeless Services, Troop 6000 was formed just over a year ago. The girls – who live in various homeless shelters in Queens – have been selling their cookies inside Kellogg’s NYC – a cereal cafe in Manhattan’s Union Square – from 4 PM to 6 PM every day this week. They will be there until 6PM on Friday, April 13.
Three adorable members of Troop 6000 dressed as thin mints and a samoa in Union Square. So happy to report the line was long to buy cookies supporting the troop for girls living in homeless shelters. They are selling cookies tomorrow and Friday afternoon too! pic.twitter.com/LJokhGwJyf
— Lindsey Christ (@LindseyChrist) April 11, 2018
According to Meredith Maskara, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, the formation of Troop 6000 wasn’t just about letting these girls sell cookies; it was about helping them belong to something larger than themselves.
“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,” Maskara said in an interview with 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.”
Troop 6000’s goal is to reach 500 girls and women at 15 shelters in Queens, with the hopes of expanding the organization outward. According to the official Girl Scouts website, troop meetings are held weekly in different shelters throughout the city, with each meeting led by a woman who is also in the shelter system.
Child homelessness is a strikingly large problem in the United States. Though the National Network for Youth notes that the data is limited, it estimates that there are between 1.3 and 1.7 million homeless children across America. In NYC specifically, the problem of homelessness could be getting worse, despite the presence of homeless assistance and resources. According to the Coalition for the Homeless, homelessness in NYC reached higher levels in recent years than it did at its previous peak, during the Great Depression.
As of February of this year, about 37 percent of the city’s 63,343 homeless people are children. Per a report by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness, one in seven NYC public school students is homeless. That also leads to more struggles once in school; around 14 percent of homeless students will be suspended from school, compared to four percent of students overall.
With all of that stacking up against them, the girls of Troop 6000 face an uphill battle. Fortunately, there is no shortage of support for their mission. According to a tweet from NY1 education reporter Lindsey Christ, the lines to buy cookies have been long. The troop also received a surprise $56,000 donation from The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon in December of last year.
If you are in NYC, you can support the girls by stopping by Kellogg’s NYC this week. You can also make a donation to Troop 6,000 right here.