WEST ORANGE, NJ — Girl Scouts are usually pretty busy in the early months of each year, doing their best to sell as many boxes of the famed Girl Scout cookies as they can. This year, 10-year-old West Orange resident and Junior Girl Scout Rhianna Giuliano decided to bring boxes of Thin Mints and Tagalongs to the five firehouses in town. Instead of trying to sell them, Rhianna gave the cookies to the first responders to thank them for their service to the town.
“The first responders serve us and help when we need it,” Rhianna said in a May 11 phone interview with the West Orange Chronicle. “Why not give them the cookies?”
Rhianna started as a Girl Scout Daisy in kindergarten and worked her way up through Brownies before becoming a Junior Girl Scout this year as a fourth-grader at St. Cloud Elementary School. According to her mother, Nevina Giuliano, Rhianna was looking for a new place to bring cookies this year.
“We have family who buy cookies but don’t really want to eat them,” Nevina Giuliano said in a May 11 phone interview with the Chronicle. “So this year she and my mother came up with the idea” of donating cookies to first responders.
Instead of taking home the cookies they’d bought, Rhianna’s grandmother and cousin gave them to Rhianna, who then spent an afternoon driving around West Orange with her grandmother to surprise the township’s firefighters with cookies and thanks for what they do. When she approached one first responder, Rhianna said he reached for his wallet to buy a box of cookies.
“I said ‘no, I wanted to give it’ to him and he was surprised,” Rhianna said. “They were happy, they were really nice.”
The West Orange Chronicle requested comment from West Orange firefighters, but did not hear back by press time.
Nevina Giuliano could not be more proud of her daughter.
“She’s learning about the community and the power of being involved in the community,” Nevina Giuliano said, adding that being involved in Girl Scouts has helped Rhianna become more aware of first responders and others who help the residents of West Orange on a daily basis.
Rhianna also plays soccer and softball, and wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. And Nevina Giuliano said her daughter’s compassion stretches beyond her love of animals.
“She’s very caring and sensitive to people’s needs,” she said. “She’s a sensitive, caring kid and I think that’s so important in this day and age. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Rhianna’s Girl Scout troop is currently collecting socks for families who need them, and Nevina Giuliano hopes the idea of service sticks in her daughter’s mind. Rhianna will certainly remember how it felt to support West Orange firefighters.
“I wanted to help people because they help us,” Rhianna, whose favorite Girl Scout cookies are Samoas, said about her donation. “It felt good giving back to the community.”