Bucking national trend, no cookie surplus for area Girl Scouts

  • Local Girl Scout troops found ways to sell cookies while following COVID-19 health safety protocols this year by creating drive-thru or lemonade stand-style booths. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • A local Girl Scout troop member walks through the “Cookie Cupboard” in the Holyoke Leadership Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/15/2021 5:33:40 PM

Phones began ringing off the hook at Girl Scout regional offices after national news stories announced last month a surplus of millions of Girl Scout cookies, leading to the creation of an online site to donate cookies to first responders, food banks and more. A statement from the Girl Scouts said around 12 million of the 15 million surplus cookies never left the bakery warehouses in Kentucky and Indiana.

However, Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts Communications Manager Dana Carnegie said “thanks to girl ingenuity and perseverance,” the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts did not have millions of unsold cookies of their own. However, this didn’t stop local patrons from calling.

“We did see a huge response to the AP story that ran about the Girl Scout cookie surplus,” Carnegie said. “People were calling, people were emailing — How can I support you? I’ll buy cookies.”

The organization sells around 200 million boxes per year at about $5 a box. Individual troops sell cookies in their community, and Girl Scouts earn badges when they sell a certain number of boxes. Troops sell the cookies at booths, at events, outside stores and online. The cookies are typically sold in the first quarter of the year.

Carnegie explained local troops did not have a surplus after the Girl Scouts “got super creative with the cookie program.” She said they found ways to sell cookies while maintaining COVID-19 health safety protocols. This included boosting online sales, or creating drive-thru or lemonade stand-style systems.

“Thanks to consumers’ generosity and appetite for Thin Mints, Samoas, etc., Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts met this year’s cookie goals,” Carnegie said.

There are 93 Girl Scout troops between Franklin and Hampshire counties. Carnegie said this year’s cookie sales had 37 participating troops from Hampshire County, which sold a total of 54,538 packages, or 4,545 cases of cookies. The 11 participating troops from Franklin County sold 15,401 packages, or 1,283 cases of cookies. On average, each troop made $996.

Carnegie said “thanks to our local community’s bigheartedness,” Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts donated a record of more than 10,000 boxes of cookies to Barnes Air National Guard Base and USO Pioneer Valley, and another more than 10,000 boxes to local Girl Scouts to distribute to first responders and food banks in their communities.

Following the “overwhelming” support nationally as patrons called regional offices offering to take a box of the famous sweets, a donation-only site was launched. The national donation link was activated in June and has since been closed. Donations will be sent to Feeding America and the Midwest Food Bank.

While this year’s national surplus was considered larger than previous surpluses, the Girl Scouts have dealt with previous extras by donating boxes to military members or emergency medical workers. Back in January when confronting declining sales, the Girl Scouts announced they planned to team up with Grubhub to sell and deliver cookies, and the delivery service agreed to waive the fees that it usually charges for orders.




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