As a first year Brownie, 8-year-old Sunny Smith loves being a Girl Scout and she says cookie sales are the highlight. Her first cookie season, however, got off to a rocky start when thieves targeted her wagon stacked with 5 cases of cookies the very first day.
“They left the wagon at the curb and they were up at the door talking, taking an order,” said Sunny’s mom Amy Smith.
Smith said her husband had taken her three girls up the street to sell. They left the wagon near the curb where they saw a car pull up and take off with it in mere seconds. Though they filed a police report, they knew it was unlikely they’d see those cookies or the $250 they’d owe for them ever again.
“I cried. I did because I was sad that that happened. My kids were violated. It just hurts to know that that happens,” said Smith.
She logged on to Oak Cliff’s Nextdoor app to let neighbors know about the crime, warning them not to buy cookies from anyone without a scout present. That quickly evolved into a community effort to recoup the money the family had lost.
Within four days, Sunny had a booth sale planned right outside of her home where neighbors could stop by on their way home from work. Smith said Sunny came up with an idea all on her own to also offer homemade lemonade for donations to the stolen cookie fund.
“Good will come out of it. She’ll learn a lesson and hopefully make up the difference,” said Dana Wiggins who learned about the fundraiser on Facebook.
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From 4:00 until 6:00 p.m., more than a dozen neighbors stopped by to fulfill their annual cookie fix while dropping additional bills in a separate bucket in exchange a glass of the lemonade Sunny hand squeezed all on her own.
“I just wanted to make them feel better, to let them know what someone cares,” said neighbor Rhenett Simpson.
And within just a couple of hours, the family not only raised enough to replace the stolen cookies. They had more than $100 extra to send cookies to troops deployed overseas, an effort Girl Scouts all around the country participate in each year.
“What a good lesson for my kids to learn that community is stronger than any bad guy could ever be,” said Smith.
Police are still searching for the people responsible. The family says they were in a white Dodge Charger.