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Today's Family Magazine

Girl Scouts thankful for outpouring of support of cookie program during pandemic

Girl Scout cookies not only taste good, they do good!  When this year’s cookie season was abruptly interrupted by COVID-19, and Girl Scouts throughout northeast Ohio were left with millions of dollars in unsold inventory, troops did what they have done for generations – they got out in front of the crisis and made a huge impact in the world.

Week after week, Girl Scouts of North East Ohio troops made headlines for bringing joy to nursing homes, food banks, and essential workers, including first responders, truck drivers, and others on the front lines of the pandemic – they were even featured during one of Governor Mike DeWine’s press conferences for spreading positivity through cookie donations.

“Girl Scouts and volunteers stepped up in amazing ways to bring smiles and cookies to members of their communities by donating tens of thousands of packages,” said Girl Scouts of North East Ohio CEO Jane Christyson.  “We also owe a debt of gratitude to our supporters who helped our girls turn setbacks into an opportunity to make an impact.”

Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) launched the Cookie Relief Fund and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) launched Cookie Care to encourage supporters to purchase cookies online to treat themselves or to donate cookies for Girl Scouts to distribute to local causes.  With donations totaling $74,000, supporters helped 95 troops help others.  A combined total of 110,000 packages were purchased through the cookie relief sites.

Local companies partnered with the council to give the Girl Scouts’ cookie business a financial boost while also donating cookies to their chosen causes.

  • Giant Eagle/GetGo purchased $25,000 of Girl Scout Cookies and donated them to teachers in Greater Cleveland during Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation purchased 6,000 packages and donated them to health care professionals throughout Cuyahoga County.
  • Cardinal Health purchased 840 packages for their warehouse workers throughout the United States.

When the Girl Scout Cookie sale ended in June, GSNEO had 8,000 cases (96,000 packages) of unsold cookies stored in warehouses.  The council reached out to longtime partners and corporate donors and offered to work in collaboration to donate and deliver the cookies to their chosen causes:

  • Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority chose to donate to their residents.
  • Giant Eagle/GetGo chose to donate to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Akron Children’s Hospital, and Akron Children’s Hospital – Mahoning Valley.
  • KeyBank chose to donate to the May Dugan Center in Cleveland
  • Lubrizol Corporation/Foundation chose to donate to Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
  • The Cleveland Foundation chose to donate to the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland

Girl Scout troops also worked with local restaurants and small businesses to sell cookies they had intended to sell at cookie booths throughout northeast Ohio. Unable to set up booths to attract buyers with their boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas, Do-Si-Dos, and the new Lemon-Ups, troops turned to digital sales, giving girls a safe, contactless way to continue to sell.  Digital cookie sales increased by 61% in northeast Ohio compared to last year.

Donations to GSNEO’s Gift of Caring project, affectionately called Operation: Sweet Appreciation, also increased by 13%.  More than 61,000 total packages were delivered to military personnel through “Support Our Troops.”

Support for the Girl Scout Cookie program stays local and enables GSNEO to provide leadership programs and experiences to more than 25,000 girls throughout northeast Ohio.  Selling cookies gives girls the ability to power unique opportunities and adventures for themselves and their troops.  And they do it all while practicing entrepreneurship, learning critical life skills, exploring the great outdoors, and diving into fun, hands-on STEM activities that unleash their imaginations and broaden their worlds.

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