Local Girl Scout troops are working to distribute 20,000 surplus boxes of cookies before they expire in September.
The Girls Scouts of Western Oklahoma had already purchased their inventory before the pandemic started. Due to a shortage of sales, they found themselves running about $1 million short in revenue, said Girls Scouts of Western Oklahoma CEO Shannon Evers.
Girl Scouts practice their sales pitches and business skills with their well-loved girl scout cookie fundraiser every year.
But, COVID put a stop to most in-person sales last year.
“With COVID, girls weren’t able to stand out in front of Walmarts and in front of businesses like they normally do,” said Evers.
Despite online sales efforts, there are still stacks of cookie boxes in an air conditioned warehouse.
“We were lucky to get some COVID relief funds, but its not going to last. I would much rather sell some cookies than cut staff or limit the number of scholarships that we’re able to offer to girls,” she said.
The Girl Scout cookie sales program is almost a $1 billion industry.
Nationally, Girl Scouts of America is working to sell 15 million surplus boxes, according to a statement.
Many troops skipped traditional cookie booths during the pandemic for safety reasons.
This directly impacts the opportunities scouts will have, Evers said.
“Now is the time to get creative. So if people want to reach out to us, we’re more than happy to connect them with as many Thin Mints as they need,” she said.
The local Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma Council owns all of the inventory, and will be out the money if the cookies do not sell.
Evers said their organization will work with donors to accommodate donation ideas that work for them.
Local developer, Home Creations, just bought $5,000 worth of cookies. New homeowners will be the happy recipients.
“At closing, we usually give a couple of different gifts, candles and blankets, but now we’re also going to offer the cookies as well and welcome them into their new home,” said John Burris, Home Creations' director of sales and marketing.
This $5,000 donation will benefit the new Girl Scout troop at Positive Tomorrows, a school for homeless youth in Oklahoma City.
If a buyer doesn’t have a need for crates of Girl Scout cookies, but wants to help out, local troops encourage people to drop off their cookies to local emergency services group or first responders.
You can purchase cookies through the donation button on their website. Go to www.gswestok.org, click donate, and be sure to note that you want cookies in exchange for your donation. A member of the organization will reach out.