This past holiday season, for the second year in a row, Paris Girl Scouts Junior Troop 35 decided to address sanitation and hygiene as a service project. What most movies and tourism ads don’t show is that there are over 50,000 homeless or near-homeless people living in Paris alone. While The City of Paris offers free municipal showers where the needy can go to clean up, clients must come with their own toiletry items- items that many are not able to afford to buy. Junior Troop 35 chose to donate toiletry kits containing soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other basics to an agency that services this underprivileged community in Paris.
Based on the previous years results, the troop of six set a goal of 50 bags and started by brainstorming ways to collect the toiletries. They placed donation boxes in the common areas of their apartment buildings and in the offices of their parents. They also set up toiletry drives at several community events around town.
Because of import laws, USAGirl Scouts in Paris aren’t able to sell Girl Scout Cookies for money-earning projects, so Troop 35 decided to host a cupcake sale, with a few flavors based on traditional Girl Scout Cookie flavors. A gracious Girl Scout supporter at the OECD offices agreed to hold the sale during a lunch hour one Wednesday (most grade schools in France have no class or ½ days of school on Wednesdays) and the wheels were set in motion! In the weeks leading up to the sale, the girls reviewed the basics of running a successful business, brushed up on their sales skills, played math and budgeting games and baked dozens and dozens of cupcakes.
Arriving at the OECD was pretty impressive for the girls, but they quickly got to work hanging up signs and setting up boxes- they also made sure to include a message about their project on each box so that people in the community could be aware of the homeless issues in Paris. The sale itself went by in a flash, and they sold out of cupcakes (50 boxes) in less than a half hour!
The following weekend the girls met to bag up the toiletries and prepare them to deliver to the agency. In the end, with the toiletries that they collected through their various drives plus those that they were able to purchase with the money they earned with the cupcake sale, Junior Troop 35 were able to donate over 130 bags and travel pouches of toiletries to the Foyer de Grenelle in Paris. In addition to earning their “Cookie CEO” badge (which they renamed Cupcake CEO), the girls also were responsible for bringing a part of the English-speaking community in Paris together in order to help a greater need during the holiday season. Paris Girl Scout Junior Troop 35 says, #icantwaitto make a difference in my community!