Our country must come together to tackle the Girl Scout Cookie surplus [Updated]

Millions of Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, and Samoas are seeking good homes

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Boxes of Thin Mints at a Girl Scout Cookie booth
Photo: John Moore (Getty Images)

Update, June 22, 2021: Apparently, after reading about the Girl Scouts’ cookie-related strife, so many people got into the spirit of cookie purchasing that the Girl Scouts are now helping to make it even easier to buy online and make donations. So, even if you have already eaten your fill, gifted cookies to your loved ones, thrown a heap of Samoa boxes into the office breakroom, and filled your freezer with backups, you can still make a difference. Here’s a statement the organization sent to The Takeout:

The outpouring of support for the cookie program has been overwhelming, so we’ve launched a donation-only site to support the Girl Scout Movement after an unprecedented year. Please visit [this page of our website] if you want to support the cookie program and donate cookies to first responders, food banks and other worthy causes. 

Go forth, readers, and fill those online shopping carts. The Girl Scouts will be grateful.

Original post, June 16, 2021: Girl Scout cookies are baked with more than just flour, sugar, and vegetable oil; they’re also baked with a little sprinkle of hope and a big ol’ dash of dreams—the secret ingredients that make them the most delicious of packaged cookies. Most years the scouts sell $800 million worth of these cookies. Selling cookies also teaches them valuable lessons about business and teamwork and helps raise the money needed for programs, activities, camps, and all the other good stuff that defines the Girl Scout experience. But this year, thanks to coronavirus, 15 million boxes are heading straight for the trash.

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“This is unfortunate, but given this is a girl-driven program and the majority of cookies are sold in-person, it was to be expected,” Girl Scouts spokesperson Kelly Parisi told the Associated Press.

Girl Scout cookie season usually runs between January and April, and the organization anticipated a sharp decrease in sales this year thanks to the pandemic, as most troops rely on in-person sales and pop-up cookie booths to move product. The organization hoped to compensate for these setbacks by pushing online sales and entering into a delivery partnership with Grubhub; on a local level, some troops got creative with their sales methods, like setting up cookie drive-thrus and delivering cookies via drone. However, even with lowered expectations and a healthy dose of moxie, sales this year fell well short of what organizers had hoped, sticking the Scouts with more cookies than they could sell before their expiration date.

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Currently about 12 million boxes of unwanted cookies are sitting in the warehouses of Little Brownie Bakers in Louisville, Kentucky and ABC Bakers in Brownsburg, Indiana, which produce the cookies exclusively for Girl Scouts. Another three million boxes are squarely in the hands of local troops throughout the country, which are hoping the public will step up to buy them. If you’d like to do your part to whittle down America’s Girl Scout Cookie surplus, visit the organization’s website. It’s up to all us to keep those tasty hopes and dreams alive.