Donating Girl Scout cookies is a way people can help the organization distribute the millions of surplus boxes of Thin Mints, Lemon Ups and other cookies left unsold due to the pandemic.
Those interested can donate through the official organization website or through specific council pages.
Last week, the New York Times reported that, due to an interruption in cookie sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Girl Scouts of America are left with 15 million unsold cookie boxes.
Around 3 million boxes are scattered throughout various troops and another 12 million are still at bakery warehouses in Louisville, KY, and ABC Bakers in Brownsburg, IN. Overall declining membership in the organization and pandemic safety measures that prevented troops from selling from traditional cookie booths contributed to the glut of extra cookies, said reports.
Girl Scouts have conducted an annual cookie sale for more than 100 years, according to the organization website. During a typical cookie sale season, the organization brings in a total of $800 million by selling 200 million boxes of cookies, said the Associated Press. The purpose of the sales, which are usually held in the spring, is to teach young girls life skills as well as to provide funding for each council’s activities.
Therefore, the impact of the pandemic on sales varies at each of the organization’s 111 local councils.
For example, Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails Rebecca Latham told the Associated Press said her council had 22,000 boxes left over at the end of the selling season in late spring. She also said they sold just under 600,000 boxes of cookies this year rather than the usual average of 805,000.
However, it was a different story for Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, said a press release from their council. That group made sure approximately 1.5 million boxes were sold, many via online donation for first responders and helped a sister council by purchasing boxes.
“Our Council takes great pride in our impeccably run Cookie Program, which runs annually January-March. From order-taking and direct sales done by girls with the help of volunteers, to the logistics and inventory management handled by staff – we are good stewards of our finances, use our resources wisely, and are fortunate that we do not have a cookie inventory surplus,” said council Interim CEO Helen Wronski.
Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers won’t sell the cookies – which have a 12-month shelf life – to grocery stores as to not diminish the importance of actual Girl Scout cookies sales, said the Associated Press. Anyone interested in buying cookies for themselves, friends or family can do so through the Girl Scout Cookie Finder mobile app, but they are limited by the availability of their local council.