Carlsbad Girl Scout donates ‘Care to Share’ cookies to first responders

Carlsbad Girl Scout donates ‘Care to Share’ cookies to first responders

This year during Girl Scout cookie season, 10-year-old Carlsbad resident Ariana Patel was moved by a family emergency to not only support her local first responders, but also to sell more than 5,450 boxes. Along the way, she also inspired her community.

Upon receiving the poignant reminder about the importance of first responders alongside her brother Aryan, 8—Ariana donated her Girl Scout “Care to Share” cookies to local EMS, including the Carlsbad Fire Department, Carlsbad Police Department and the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, according to her mother, Ekta Bhakta. The Troop 12004 Girl Scout set a goal of selling 5,000 boxes of cookies—ultimately surpassing it and earning some “Challenge Coins” from her EMS beneficiaries along the way.

“Every ‘keep the change’ or donation she received went to sharing her appreciation for the men and women who proudly serve our community,” said Bhakta about Ariana’s participation in the Girl Scout’s Care to Share program earlier this year. She said the first responders kept some of the tasty donations, and also paid some cookies forward to others in the community.

Bhakta told Permian Proud that boxes of cookies filled up her family’s living room while Ariana was selling them, and that her daughter set her goal higher than ever before. In the past, “She never sold more than 2,000 cookies,” said Bhakta, but this year, the local community was really “inspired by her desire to give back.” The community’s generous response helped Ariana surpass her substantial goal by purchasing more than 5,000 boxes of cookies this year.

“It was a big deal because she has come out of her comfort zone so much…she’s got so much more confidence and believes in herself,” said the proud mom about her daughter’s accomplishment and the benefits of the Girl Scouts. “This was really just something she wanted to do, and so her dad and I, we supported her.” Together, they “pushed through” weekends and cold, hard days during cookie season in cookie booths so Ariana could surpass her goal.

Ariana’s parents weren’t the only ones supporting her achievement this year. Bhakta said the EMS recipients benefiting from Ariana’s cookie donations each gave her Challenge Coins—which she described as a small, quarter-like medallion bearing an organization’s insignia—to recognize her daughter for setting a goal and achieving her mark. “It honors the actions of the person who receives it,” she said. “She took them into consideration and they appreciated her for doing that. And we’re proud of her.”

Bhakta said Ariana is using her Challenge Coins “to pray for first responders every day.”

Ultimately, Bhakta said that she is grateful that “the community rallied around her [daughter]” so she could succeed. “I’m so proud she gets to learn that people support her. And I think that all of us in this world just want people to support us because that’s what makes us successful. We’re successful because of everyone around us.”