Oceanside Girl Scout leader Denise Jablonowski and the five 14- to 16-year-old girls in Troop 2164 have taken the organization's community service mission pretty seriously. After reading "Sow What?," a Girl Scout guide for Scouts aspiring to earn the Gold Award, the troop became inspired to help Long Islanders without access to "healthful, affordable and sustainably grown food, produced with respect for the Earth." And, thus, the troop's "EarthBox to Food Pantry Project" was born.

The first step is to raise $500 to purchase 10 EarthBox grow kits. Next, the girls aim to plant tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and possibly herbs, tend the gardens over the growing season and donate the harvest to a local food pantry.

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"Oceanside Girl Scouts are tremendously dedicated to serving their community, so this is a fabulous project for all of our troops. Our overall hope is that this project will expand; that would be an ideal outcome," Jablonowski said. "In fact, it is very likely that growing in EarthBoxes will become [an ongoing] Gold Award project," with the EarthBoxes becoming permanent fixtures in the garden so that the next group of Oceanside Girl Scouts can plant a new harvest and continue the provision of fresh food for years to come.

The troop plans to raise the necessary funds by soliciting donations while selling cookies this Sunday outside the Stop & Shop at 3577 Long Beach Rd. in Oceanside. If you won't be in the area but would like to help, you can contact Jablonowski directly by e-mailing her at djablonowski@charlesandboudin.com.  

Pictured: Top row, from left: troop leader Denise Jablonowski, Lauren Buarotti, and Courtney Jablonowski. (Not pictured are Scouts Kaitlyn Jablonowski, Rachel Baird, Kathleen Brussell)

See the whole troop