Soldiers serving with the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum will be getting some sweet packages soon.
Brownie Troop 150 of Brewerton is collecting donations to send Girl Scout cookies to a unit serving overseas for the second year in a row. The troop, led by Kelly Stewart and Kim Salanger, is taking monetary donations that purchase boxes of cookies and sending those cookies overseas. The troop — the members of which are Sophia Fiumano, Nicole Hesselbarth, Kalli Frey, Megan Goodwin, Rebekah Howard, Renee Kite, Nora Salanger, Kassidy Schad, Molley Creamer, Madeline DePasquale, Alaina Godici, Madison Notaro, Katie Stewart, Olivia Burke, Shannon Fisher, Nicole Henry and Emily Panek — began the program last year.
It was Katie Stewart, 7, who came up with the idea. Her uncle Eric was serving in Iraq last year, and she knew the Cub Scouts were sending popcorn to his unit.
“Uncle Eric said the guys really liked the cookies,” Katie said. “And they sent us a flag that they flew over Iraq as a thank-you.”
This year, since her uncle’s unit has returned home, Katie and her troop have connected with another unit from Fort Drum. However, the mission remains the same: to raise as much money as possible to send boxes of Thin Mints, Shortbreads, Caramel DeLites and more to the troops.
And it’s not just the troops that enjoy the cookies.
“Last time they gave some to the children,” Katie said.
“One unit donated some of their boxes to a local orphanage, and another gave them to some of the local children,” Kelly said. “We thought that was neat, that it’s children helping children.”
Fellow Brownie Megan Goodwin, also 7, loves the idea of helping the troops in this way.
“I like to eat the cookies, so I bet they’ll be excited to get cookies from us,” she said.
In order to help with the drive, Katie sent out letters to local businesses and politicians, as well as some more famous names.
“She’s gotten quite a bit of feedback,” Kelly said. “She even got a donation from Madeleine Albright.”
In addition to donations for cookies, the girls in the troop, all second-graders at Brewerton Elementary, are also looking for help with the shipping costs, which will certainly be hefty — the girls have already collected 350 boxes’ worth of donations.
“Last year, we had a company to help us out with that,” Kelly Stewart said. “But this year, that’s going to come out of the girls’ profits, so they might have to give up a field trip. So we’re hoping to raise a little more money to help with that.”
The cookies will go to a unit serving in Iraq that Troop 150 has co-adopted with the Central Square American Legion Post 915. And each of the 17 girls in the troop has a pen pal in that unit, someone she keeps in touch with throughout the year. They recently sent them Valentine cards and banners for St. Patrick’s Day.
And that’s not all the girls have done to help their community. The troop has also made bears at Build-A-Bear that they donated to the Ronald McDonald House, held a food drive and sung Christmas carols to the elderly. They’ve also donated boxes of cookies to a fundraiser for Bobby Galvano, a classmate at Brewerton Elementary who is battling cancer.
Kelly Stewart said the troop is very interested in serving the community.
“They’re really a great bunch of girls,” she said. “Whenever I ask them what we should do with our money, they want to use it to help people. It’s really important to them.”
“We like helping a lot of people,” Megan said. “That’s the best part.”
If you would like to make a donation to send cookies to the troops, call Kelly Stewart at 676-7487 by Feb. 26. To make a donation towards
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.