The crowd of men and children streaming into the Masjid Hamza mosque in Valley Stream gathered along a spot sectioned off for Friday afternoon prayer at the back parking lot on Feb. 24. Without the need for any instruction, congregants lined up along the communal prayer mats in rows and knelt in silence.
But tucked a few feet away from the sea of bowed heads and solemn faces was a band of cheery-eyed, self-assured Nassau County girl scouts quietly at work.
Through well-timed coordination, they had unpacked and unbagged their baked goods and assorted treats, arranging their delectable spread on the tables in front of them, hoping — after the close of prayer — to get some customers.
This impromptu bake sale sprouted up to raise money to help Masjid Hamza members provide on-the-ground relief to the victims of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria earlier this year noted cadette Satura Kapadia of Troop 2266.
“I would like to thank Masjid Hamza for giving us the platform to raise money to support the cause,” said Satura. “It’s important to help communities in need and help the communities that need us the most. All of us girl scouts helped to bake one cookie or one sweet for the fundraiser.”
Girl Scouts from Troops 2344, 2475, 2265, 2410, and 2266 pitched in and arranged everything within a week’s notice, and even secured food donations from vendors like the Butt Karahi House in Valley Stream and the Jazeera restaurant in Hicksville.
“For me, it took two hours to bake my cupcakes,” said cadette Afifa Patel of Troop 2266.
As the men said the last of their prayers, some fanned out slowly. Others slipped out without paying mind to the stand. But soon enough, a handful decided to stop and peruse the bake sale table. Others followed their lead. And suddenly, within minutes, the girls had a crowd. In the end, the scouts came away with roughly $5,500 in earnings from the sale.
“They do a lot to help other communities, but it’s nice to see them do something close to home,” said Ruhee Kapadia, the mosque’s outreach coordinator. “The girls came up with the idea and wanted to help. They approached me to do it on a holiday week. They took the initiative. And it’s beautiful.”