Local Girl Scout troop picks up the tab for lunches at Black Mountain Primary

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News
The Brownies of Girl Scout Troop 02498 presented a check for $405 to cover unpaid lunch balances at Black Mountain Primary School on June 12. Front row, left to right: Wren Hall, Haleyanne Duvall, Charlotte Pauly, Ellison Duvall, Ruby Sednick, Black Mountain primary principal Malorie McGinnis and Paislee Cordell. Back row, left to right: Cafeteria managers Jen Mohr, Nancy Hunt and troop leader Kiersten Hall.

The Girl Scouts of Black Mountain Troop 02498 are always a welcome sight around the town, especially during the winter months when they often arrive to take orders for cookies. The Brownies, however, tend to make their sweetest deliveries in the summer. 

Six second- and third-grade Girl Scouts, showed up at Black Mountain Primary the first day of summer break with a check for $405, covering the school's unpaid lunch balances. It was the second straight year the Brownies shared their earnings from cookie sales with their school. 

Kiersten Hall has been the troop leader for the group for four years. She accompanied the girls as they presented the check to principal Malorie McGinnis and cafeteria managers Jen Mohr and Nancy Hunt. 

"These girls are very aware of the issues in the community, especially when it comes to their peers," Hall said. "They think it's important to help others."

Last year the Brownies, which make up roughly a third of the local troop, donated $550 to help make the new Black Mountain Primary playground a reality. So after a cookie season in which troop 02498 sold more than 13,000 boxes, they were eager to find a way to help the school again, Hall said.

"The money they raise from cookie sales supports the troop, so we buy supplies and it allows us to not require monthly dues from the girls," she said. "It also helps buy all the badges, so they don't have to pay for those."

Last year the Brownies raised around $1,500 from sales but that number was up $3,900 this year, thanks to the top seller in Buncombe and Madison County — Paislee Cordell. 

The 9-year-old sold 4,690 boxes of cookies last winter, placing her third in the Carolina Peaks to Piedmont Council and $1,000 college scholarship. 

Paislee Cordell, a member of the Brownies of Girl Scout Troop 02498, sold 4,690 boxes of cookies last winter, the most in Buncombe and McDowell Counties. She finished third for cookie sales in the Girl Scouts Peaks to Piedmont Council, earning a $1,000 scholarship.

Cordell was one of the six girls to deliver the check to the primary school. 

"It felt really good to see my hard work pay off," she said. "I'm excited to see how far I can go next year."

Buncombe County School's policy allows students who have a zero or negative balance on their prepaid lunch account (breakfast is served for free) to charge meals. While the families are responsible for paying off the balance, there are typically a few that go unpaid, according to Mohr. 

"The unpaid accounts are usually a loss to the school's nutrition department," she said. "We receive support from organizations in the community for some of them, but this check from these girls is the biggest we've seen."

The funds donated by the Brownies will cover the costs of lunches for around 35 families, Mohr added. 

"This is incredible," she told the girls who presented the check. "To see kids so young have the mindset to help others like this is really impressive."

McGinnis expressed pride in the generosity of the students. 

"I believe that if we nurture and develop future leaders who care about their community and support it in positive ways, we're raising the next generation of those who are willing to do what needs to be done," she said. "I feel a tremendous sense of pride for these girls."

Hall also expressed a sense of pride in her troop. 

"They're aware of their neighbors, community and peers," she said. "They frequently talk about wanting to help everyone around."

Black Mountain Primary principal Malorie McGinnis accepts a check from Paislee Cordell, a member of the Brownies of Girl Scout Troop 02498. The Brownies gave $405 from their cookie sales to pay off unpaid lunch balances at the school.

Through their earnings, the Brownies were also able to fund a trip to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, where they will participate in a Sleep with the Sharks sleepover in late July. 

The troops willingness to help others reflects the Girl Scouts mission of "building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place," according to Hall. 

"It's a service group, and even though the girls also have a lot of fun doing it, helping others is a major part of what we do," she said. "That's what Girls Scouts is really about."