Great Britain

Girl scouts stuck with 15 million boxes of cookies

The Girl Scouts are trying to find a way to offload 15 million boxes of cookies after the coronavirus pandemic upended their yearly sales campaign.

Due to lockdowns and social restrictions during the pandemic, many of the Girl Scouts' in-person sales events had to be cancelled.

This left the organisation with a huge stock of cookies that they never had a chance to sell.

According to The New York Daily News, the cookies are being held by the two companies that bake them.

Those companies – Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers – have agreed not to charge the local Girl Scout branches for the boxes. Neither group wants to see the cookies go to waste, so they have begun to brainstorm ideas for how to effectively distribute the surplus treats.

One option the Girl Scouts and the companies are considering is donating the cookies to the military or to food banks. They're also considering selling them to prisons.

While the baking companies hold 12 million boxes of cookies, the Girl Scout organisation is already in possession of another 3 million boxes. Scouts in local chapters will have to help sell or donate those remaining boxes.

Each spring, Girl Scouts set up booths around their towns to sell their cookies. Many girls opted not to participate in sales during the pandemic due to obvious health concerns.

The Girl Scouts attempted to keep their cookies moving during the pandemic by promoting online purchases and by making their goods available via Grubhub, but neither alternative proved to be a viable alternative to in-person sales.

Kelly Parisi, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts, told The Associated Press that the development was disappointing but also not entirely unexpected.

“This is unfortunate, but given this is a girl-driven programme and the majority of cookies are sold in-person, it was to be expected,” she said.

In a normal year, the Girl Scouts generally sell around 200 million boxes of cookies, which amounts to about $800m.

Girl Scouts sell their cookies to help raise money for organisation programming, travel, camping trips and other activities.

While the pandemic certainly dealt a blow to the Girl Scouts' fundraising, it's likely not the worst challenge the organisation has ever faced.

During World War II, the Girl Scouts had to forgo selling their signature cookies due to the rationing of baking goods like butter, flour and sugar.

Instead, the girls had to resort to selling calendars in order to raise money.

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