The selling of Girl Scout cookies is a longstanding tradition known to bring joy to millions of people across the country – but Warwick Troop 513 took it a step further, donating $150 of their hard-earned cookie money to purchase a goat for villagers in Haiti.
You read that correctly. Troop 513 connected with the uniquely benevolent cause through Nancy Schwab, owner of the Petite Chef, located in Pontiac Village at 160 Greenwich Ave., who has been advocating for the Haitian commune of Jérémie since 2000 through the charitable Haitian Health Foundation.
Schwab first got connected with the work through the foundation’s creator, Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, who began the charitable work in 1982 and has helped build homes and medical clinics throughout the country at the direct imploring of the late Mother Theresa.
To date through her “Give a Goat” work, Schwab has helped purchase 73 goats for the village, which can be bred or bartered for other goods, and provides a huge economic boost to the villagers that reside there.
The Petite Chef hosts children’s birthday parties and doubles as a fun cooking and baking class for the participants. Schwab takes $10 from each party’s cost and puts it aside towards another goat – which cost $150 apiece through the foundation.
As an added inspiration, the birthday girls and boys play a part in naming each goat and gets a spot on the “barn wall” in the shop, and can view pictures of the goats that they helped purchased, which adorn multiple walls in colorful displays. The goat names always begin with “Petite,” and then the name can be crafted by the kids. In Troop 513’s case, they landed on “Petite S’mores,” appropriately in honor of the cookie.
“Sometimes we get kids coming in here on a repeat basis, and the first thing they do is run to see the picture of their goat,” Schwab said while showing photos of villagers with their goats on Monday.
Schwab said that the program helps provide important perspective to kids on how little some people have in other parts of the world, and reminds them to be appreciative for the things we enjoy in this country.
“It’s not about making them sad,” Schwab said while showing pictures of the living conditions for people in Haiti. “It’s just that we live differently.”
Troop 513 leader Tonya Booth said the girls came up with the idea to use their cookie money to buy a goat on their own after hearing about the cause.
“The girls do so much,” Booth said. “This year we focused on community service and giving back. I'm just so proud of them this year.”
If you’d like to learn more about the Give a Goat program, or you’d like to schedule a unique birthday party unlike any other, head over to PetiteChef.net or contact Nancy Schwab at 401-615-0077.