By Seth Daniel
This year, Harvest on the Vine was fortunate enough to have enough donations to put together an Easter food distribution that includes 500 hams and all the fixings, but there will be an extra surprise of Girl Scout cookies for the needy families in Charlestown this Easter courtesy of a newly revived Girl Scout troop in the Town.
Newly formed Troop 62168 has donated Girl Scout cookies to Harvest on the Vine organizer Tom McDonald on Thursday afternoon, April 6, and got to learn about what the Pantry does, who it serves, and how crucial the services are to the community.
“The people we serve here at the Food Pantry are very poor,” McDonald told about 20 Girl Scouts, who are based out of the Warren Prescott School. “We give them meat, potatoes, carrots and other vegetables. Now, because of you Girl Scouts, they will have dessert with these cookies you’ve donated.”
The girls learned that the Harvest on the Vine distributes two times a month on Saturdays to about 100 to 150 families in the Town. The only requirement is that they prove they have a Charlestown address. There are about 25 distributions each year, including special ones at Easter and Thanksgiving.
McDonald said they get most of their food from the Greater Boston Food Bank, but they also get generous vegetable and fruit donations from Costa Fruit in Charlestown.
Liz Flynn said the Troop formed just this school year at the Warren Prescott. There are 16 Brownies (2nd and 3rd grade) and 12 Daisy Scouts (kindergarten to 3rd grade) right now and about six parent volunteers. She said because they meet at the Warren Prescott, and due to Boston Public School rules, only students at the Warren Prescott can join. They hope to change that in the future, though.
She said they began working to get a Troop last year.
“A lot of the parents had been Girl Scouts and were talking and wanted to start up a troop,” she said. “There had been a Troop before, but it had folded. We contacted Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and they helped us get it running. We’ve done well with Brownies and Daisy Scouts, but next year we’ll be expanding to include Juniors, which are 4th graders.”
One of the highlights this year, Flynn said, was having the Troop’s first cookie sales in January.
Setting up at the The Cooperative Bank and in the Mall, the girls were able to sell a good amount of cookies to those in the community, and some of those who bought cookies donated them to Harvest on the Vine.
“The community was ecstatic to see the girls out selling their cookies in Charlestown again,” she said. “Not only do people love Girl Scout cookies, but also they loved seeing Girl Scouts active in Charlestown again. I think the girls really learned leadership skills this year, which is good. Every event we do, we see a change.”
Flynn said the effort to learn about Harvest on the Vine was part of the ‘Give Back’ badge that the girls earn as part of the cookie sales. “The girls learn about customer service and sales, and they also learn to give back as part of their business,” she said. “They learned about companies that give back and they did this on their own.”