Girl Scouts partner with North Country Meals on Wheels as programs become more crucial during epidemic

ABC50 NOW

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – Jaime Alvarez of Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways spoke with ABC50’s Alex Hazard about how the organization’s partnership with Meals on Wheels is helping elderly members of our community get much needed help during the COVID-19 epidemic, while also helping Girl Scout troops sell cookies at a time when traditional ways of selling have been halted by the pandemic.

Prior to the local outbreak of COVID-19, the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Council designated Meals on Wheels programs as the 2020 Sweet Support community partner for its cookie program. Through this annual service project, customers choose to gift their Girl Scout Cookie purchases to assist a designated community entity.

With social distancing and shelter at home mandates now in effect, Meals on Wheels programs are more critical than ever. Local programs are experiencing an increase in the number of elderly community members requesting meals. To-date, approximately 550 cases, or 6,600 individual boxes, of Girl Scout Cookies have been donated to Meals on Wheels. Even more are being shared each day thanks to the generosity of the public and troops obtaining more customer cookie donations.

GSNYPENN is partnering with Meals on Wheels in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties, along with many counties across New York State.

“For many years, we’ve had local Girl Scout troops donate cookies to pass on to our recipients. It’s always been such a treat for them. This year, it’s a whole lot better because everyone who receives MOW will get a box of cookies! I love the whole concept of ‘Sweet Support;’ it’s a win-win for both parties involved. The timing couldn’t be better! In these days of uncertainty, I believe that feelings of isolation are being felt to a much greater degree. The virus has literally cut people off from one another. We’ve had to limit so much of our human contact, in hopes of protecting our seniors and homebound individuals, that both volunteers and recipients are experiencing the effects. The greatest thing about delivering meals are the moments spent interacting. Girl Scout Cookies with each delivery are such a delight to all. It truly brightens up their day,” said Donna White, Food Programs Director, Watertown Urban Mission.

“We are very grateful to GSNYPENN. Our clients shelter in place year-round, but to be cut off and even more isolated due to the virus can cause depression. We received Girl Scout Cookies and sent a box to each client with a wish for a Happy Easter. It was a very timely gift. An area Girl Scout troop also gave us cookies plus Easter cards the girls made, which we put into clients’ meal packages to brighten their day. On behalf of all of our clients, we send a big shout out to all who made this ‘Sweet Support’ possible,” says Cindy Sullivan, Director, Massena Meals on Wheels.

Community cookie booths are not operating during the pandemic due to social distancing guidelines.  Cookies that would have been used to stock those booths are now available for purchase.  Another way people can support the Girl Scouts and give back to the community is to buy cookies for donation that will then be sent to essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To donate a cookie purchase to Meals on Wheels and or make a monetary gift to purchase cookies for donation, visit gsnypenn.org/cookiefinder.

Girl Scouts serves girls in grades K-12. Annual membership is $25 and financial assistance is available. To register a girl online, visit gsnypenn.org/join. To become an adult volunteer, learn more at gsnypenn.org/volunteer

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