Local Girl Scouts of the Inland Northwest have been taking orders since mid-February for $5 boxes of classic cookies: Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Trefoils and more. All orders so far have been online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hindered cookie sale season for a second year now for troops under the Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho (GSEWNI) council.
The good news, however, is that these local troops will be setting up tables for in-person sales at area grocery stores starting March 26. Sales at dozens of those locations and online continue through April 18.
"While this pandemic has been difficult for our entire Earth, certainly for those who lost family members, I will say there are a few good things that came out of it that will be better going forward," says GSEWNI council CEO Brian Newberry.
"One is the digital cookie site. In the past people would always ask if they could do that, but it was a challenge for us because each girl had her own link" for sales, he continues.
Now, residents who perhaps don't know a Girl Scout in their neighborhood can head online and type in their ZIP code to place an order directly from their nearest troop. Girl Scouts can also still share personalized sales links with friends and family.
Cookie orders placed online can be shipped for a fee, but an option for free local delivery may also be offered, depending on the troop, says Renee Smock, chief operating officer of GSEWNI.
A third way to get cookies, also new this year, is via the delivery platform Grubhub, Smock says, adding that this feature is available for select areas.
Newberry says for each $5 box of Girl Scout Cookies purchased, troops keep 75 percent to support activities and programs. About 275 local troops are participating in cookie sales this year.
"We definitely need the community to go out and support our girls at booth sales," Smock says. "We have had exceptional digital cookie sales, but girls still rely on cookie sales yet to come to support their programming and the things they'll do as troops in the year ahead. The majority of support comes from in-person sales, which they missed out on last year and they're still making up a little from that."
Want to support local Girl Scouts but don't want the temptation of extra calories? There's also an option to purchase cookies for donation, which are distributed to health care workers and members of the military. More than 16,000 cookies have been donated toward these efforts already this year, Newberry says.
"The community has been so generous. And we're all grateful to the supermarket chains for letting us come back," he says. "This year's cookie motto is 'We've got this,' and I think its very apropos, as we're one of the few councils that will go through two pandemic years, as we're one of the last to sell cookies [in the U.S. each year]."
Head to gsewni.org and click the "cookies" tab in the header for more information.