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Girl Scouts raise money for cookies, items for troops

Ursula Watson
The Detroit News

Macomb — For sisters Olivia and Jade Golembiewski, love didn’t start or stop Feb. 14.

They again are on a mission of gratitude, asking people to donate $5 Wal-Mart gift cards that will be used to create care packages for deployed servicemen and women.

It’s the second year they’re spearheading with Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace the “Valentines 4-R Troops” at the Clinton Township and Troy locations Friday through Sunday.

“They sacrifice a lot and it is a way to give thanks for what they do,” said Jade, 9, a fourth-grader at Sequoyah Elementary School in Macomb Township.

The nonprofit Operation Troop Aid uses the gift cards to buy items such as hand sanitizer and phone cards for care packages. Cash donations will be used to buy boxes of Girl Scout cookies that will be sent, as well.

To kick off the drive, Nino Salvaggio’s will donate 100 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

During the first year of “Valentines 4-R Troops,” in 2013 Olivia, 11, and Jade raised enough money to send nearly 1,700 boxes of cookies to troops. In 2014 they sent more than 3,200 boxes and this year, they hope to send 4,000.

The Golembiewski sisters of Macomb are in good company. Superstar Kid Rock also has raised money for the organization, according to

Olivia, a Girl Scout Cadette with Troop 30318 and Jade, a Girl Scout Junior with Troop 74151, started the event because they felt bad that members of the armed forces were unable to spend Christmas at home with their loved ones, said their mother, Brenda Golembiewski.

During the event, children can color a picture or write a letter to the troops that will be sent with the care packages. Last year, 250 letters were sent. Additionally, the Disabled American Veterans will have drop-off bins at both Nino Salvaggio locations to collect gently used or new clothing items for disabled veterans and their families.

“The disabled veterans need our help,” said Olivia, a sixth-grader at Iroquois Middle School. “Some have lost arms and legs and we want to help give them stuff that will make their life better.”

Frank Nicolella, general manager of the Clinton Township Nino Salvaggio, said the stores often give back to the community.

During the holidays, Nino Salvaggio’s has partnered with 96.3 FM WDVD for Stuff A Bus, an annual toy drive, and donated hams and turkeys to Grace Centers of Hope, a non-profit that helps the homeless and those dealing with addiction.

In 2014, the Golembiewski sisters’ “Valentines 4-R Troops” drive at Nino Salvaggio’s collected enough gift cards for 200 care packages.

“I thought it was remarkable that a couple of young ladies came forward to try to make a difference in our community and for our troops,” Nicolella said.

(313) 222-2613

Want to help?

■Visit Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace, 6835 Rochester Road, in Troy or at 17496 Hall Road, Clinton Township, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

■Donations can also be made by mail. Make checks payable to: GSSEM Troop 30318, Attention: Valentines 4-R Troops Box # 254, 51194 Romeo Plank Road, Macomb, MI 48042

■To make a donation or to learn more about Operation Troop Aid, visit