Carolyn Whatley ’23 began her Girl Scout journey in kindergarten, and today is close to completing her senior Gold Award project to drive lasting change in the two communities in which she lives. Whatley, who lives both in eastern North Carolina and St. Croix, USVI, identified the need to transport shelter pets from the island in order to more efficiently find homes for them. To do this, she is raising money by making and selling her homemade pimento cheese, Carolyn’s Pimento Gold.
“My pimento cheese is an old family recipe that I’ve changed just a little,” said Whatley. “I use high quality ingredients, and I make it, market it, and sell it to raise money for my Girl Scout project.”
For Whatley, the pimento cheese is a link to her grandmother who passed away last year. Unable to visit her due to COVID-19 restrictions, Whatley began making her delicious product as a way to raise money to feed the memory care workers who cared for her grandmother as well as memory care workers in four other facilities. While volunteering in her new home of St. Croix she realized that she could also sell the pimento cheese to raise funds to help the plight of displaced island animals.
Whatley has partnered with The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center and Paws from Paradise to assist in transporting these animals to the mainland in order to be adopted.
“They have a really good program where if someone cannot afford to fully vet or care for their pets , they can say ‘hey, keep them, we’ll help you pay for it,'" she said. “And there are a lot of homeless animals. So, I decided to partner with them for my Gold Award project to make my pimento cheese to help transport animals to the United States for adoption. I’m also trying to sponsor a spay and neuter clinic here, and one in St. Croix.”
Whatley will be a part of their mobile pet care team during the summer as well as working in the adoption facility and making a lot of Pimento Gold.
Working with animal shelters near her home in North Carolina, Whatley is coordinating routes by which to transport animals as well as homes in the local area should they need to be housed en route to their final destinations. In addition to the funds needed for the animals to travel, pet carriers and other items such as leashes, harnesses and toys are essential for this plan to work.
“We need a lot of pet carriers,” said Whatley. “We need them for the animals to travel to the United States but it’s very difficult to get the pet carriers back to St. Croix because that’s just another fee. So, we don’t really want to do that. Instead, we’re looking for airline approved, collapsible pet carriers for donations so that we have enough for each animal.”
Whatley’s ultimate goal is to raise $7,000 via her pimento cheese sales, which she will donate to the animal shelter in St. Croix and Paws From Paradise. This will provide transportation for 50 island animals. Other fundraisers will assist her in raising funds to sponsor spay and neuter clinics. She sells a pint of her Pimento Gold for nine dollars and is able to deliver to addresses near her home and also sets up “pop up” sales as she travels to other towns. Whatley also accepts travel safe pet carriers and essentials to bring with her to St. Croix.
Anyone in the Chatham Hall community interested in donating a pet carrier or finding out more about Whatley’s pimento cheese may contact email@example.com.