The familiar flavors, the iconic uniforms, and a prime location at the Kellogg's store in Union Square — Girl Scout Troop 6000 meant business.
Girl Scouts across the country sell cookies, but the Troop 6000 scouts courting cookie customers are unique: Every member of Troop 6000 is, or has been, homeless.
"I was scared, I was lonely, I didn't know what to do," said Karina, a member of the troop. "I wasn't trusting myself, and I was just kind of like heartbroken because I didn't like that I was going through this and I didn't know why I was."
Giselle Burgess started the troop last year with the help of Girl Scouts of Greater New York and the city Department of Homeless Services. She wanted to give the girls a sense of community, and reassure them that they were not alone.
"We're scared, we're nervous, and we don't know what's going in the situation as an adult, so imagine how they must feel," Burgess said. "I definitely felt that they needed to be able to connect with someone, with peers that are living through the same situations that they have."
Troop 6000 began with eight members but has grown to nearly 300 girls — a reflection of the city's homeless crisis. The goal is to expand to 500 girls in 15 shelters.
"It gives more sense of a community to girls and families as they're going through this transition process, because girl scouting is about community, it's about sisterhood, it's about a neighborhood, and it's about involvement and having roots," said Meridith Maskara, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater New York.
Troop 6000 intends to use its cookie sales to pay for uniforms, trips, and activities. But that's pennies on the dollar compared to what scouting means to the girls: Finally having a place where they belong.
"The difference between me and before Troop 6000 is that I can speak up more, and I don't have to feel like I'm different at all," Troop 6000 member Sanaa said.
"All of us envision we're so powerful, and we have a voice," said Karina. "Even if our voice is small, we have a voice and we can impact this world."
Troop 6000's goal is to sell — you guessed it — 6,000 of their trademark boxes. But the girls also helped created six cereal bowl recipes, which will appear on the menu all week, with all proceeds going to the troop.