Girls Scouts use cookie money to feed homeless

Girl Scouts Danika Beato, 6, Leila Beato, 11, Cassidee Prieto, 9, Alexis and Brooke Berg, 9, make turkey sandwiches to donate to the Bridge to Home Homeless Shelter at a members house in Valencia, Calif., on Friday, April 29, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal

In a collaborative effort, Daisies, Brownies, Juniors and Cadets from different Girl Scout troops banded together at a home in Valencia to feed the homeless.  

The younger Scouts made bagged lunches and assembled turkey sandwiches while the older Scouts made a meatball pasta with garden vegetables and dinner rolls. Darbee Prieto, one of the troop leaders, said the lunches will feed 40 people and the dinner will feed 70 at the local homeless shelter, Bridge to Home. 

“They’re doing all the cutting themselves and are doing all the prep themselves. I’m just going to help ’em out on the stove part,” said Prieto. “And they’re excited to do it. The older ones get to go and serve, which is nice. The little ones not as much, but they’re gonna pack up the bags and get them ready for them.” 

Brooke Berg, 9, reaches for a piece of lettuce to make turkey sandwiches at a members house in Valencia, Calif., on Friday, April 29, 2022. The girl scout members made a dinner and a sack lunch for members in the Bridge to Home Homeless Shelter. Chris Torres/The Signal

When asked whose idea it was to donate food to the shelter, the troop leaders and the Scouts themselves were adamant the idea came from the girls themselves. Prieto said that when she explained the culture shock they might encounter when serving the needy, the girls seemed determined still.  

“They need to understand going in that what they might see in the homeless community and might be a little bit of a culture shock for them, because they haven’t been exposed to it,” said Prieto. “But [we] and they said, ‘We just want to help, we just want to take care of our community.’ So they’re really big on, like, giving back, they see the importance of it. And I think the Girl Scouts really prepare them to give back to the community, which I love.” 

Although the Scouts are getting something in return, in the form of a culinary badge, it was only possible because they used the money they earned from their cookie sales to pay for the food.  

Girl Scout Sophia Pennington, 13, sold more than 3,500 boxes of those cookies — doing so by going door to door, selling to family and friends, and using upsell tactics when selling to people in front of businesses. She said that seeing the fruits of her labor being returned to the community was great, but noted it was every Scout’s hard work that made this possible, not just hers.  

Girl scout Kaitlyn Berg, 12, lays her slices of bell peppers on a baking sheet to roast at a members house in Valencia, Calif., on Friday, April 29, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal

“It feels really great to just have done that, like, all the work that we put in for about…three months, is going towards a cause to help our city like homelessness,” said Pennington. “I just think that it’s great that Girl Scouts really is a way for all girls to come together and work together to help other people.” 

Her mother, Marimelle Pasquel-Pennington, said seeing the girls step up like this on their own was a source of great pride for her.  

“I’m just so proud of the girls,” said Pennington. “They wanted to do this, right? Like as leaders we sort of just guide them and coach them, but ultimately, they’re the ones that make the decisions on how to spend their money. So I’m just so incredibly proud of them.” 

Helping in the kitchen, which was crowded with food for 70 people, Kaitlyn Berg and Charlize Beato said they also knew the importance of what they were doing and the impact it could have on the community. 

“It was kind of like all our idea that we’ve… had for a while. We just always wanted to do something… like this and we have in the past, so we thought it was time to do it again,” said Berg.  

“It was a lot of hard work. We all had to work a lot of hours,” said Beato. “I’ve done a lot of hard work, but I feel like it’s really worth helping people.” 

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