By Chris Bavender
The impact of closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic is not only affecting students, business owners and employees, but also Girl Scouts. Annual cookie sales often include booths at grocery stores. But booth sales are canceled, which has left Scouts with a wealth of unsold boxes of cookies.
“Originally, when all our (11) booths were canceled we had roughly 600 packages left,” said Kennedy Moulder, a Scout with Troop 00822, who has sold cookies for six years. “Through continuing sales and transferring cookies to other troops we are down to about 100 packages.”
Scout Grace Lucka with Troop 1231, who has sold cookies for nine years, has “a lot” of cookies left and was worried when the booths were canceled.
“I didn’t know what we were going to do. We had 12 more booths scheduled that got canceled,” she said. “But I understood why they did it for the safety of the girls. I just wasn’t sure how I was going to sell the rest of my cookies.”
Grace’s mom, Gayle, is the troop leader and understood why the booths were canceled. But she also wondered how to assure the Scouts it was for the best while also supporting their goals.
“Business planning and goal setting are such important skills they learn through selling cookies,” Gayle said. “They’ve learned year after year that if they think big, create specific strategies to achieve their goals, they can achieve their dreams. Even risk-management planning is a part of their cookie-selling business.
“Risk management involves getting the girls to think about how to solve business problems when things don’t go as they expect.”
Kennedy’s mom, Cathy, is her troop leader and shares the same concerns.
“As a troop leader I was also a little panicked since we had taken on extra cookies throughout the week,” she said. “Partially to continue to work on hitting goals, but we also try to help our local troops transfer their leftover inventory to us to sell since usually troops have to pay for the cookies they don’t sell by the end of the year.”
Deana Potterf, chief communications officer for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, said the organization projects between 30,000 and 50,000 packages of cookies will go unsold. Typically, troops cannot return cookie inventory.
“In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana is buying back all the remaining Girl Scout Cookie inventory from local Girl Scouts and funding all troop proceeds to make sure girls don’t lose out on the fantastic experiences that cookie sales fund,” Potterf said. “Due to the pandemic, our council finished our Girl Scout Cookie booth season early, canceling more than 420 booth sales across 45 counties.”
Girl Scouts sold cookies through their Digital Cookie web pages and to friends and families through March 31. Cookies are delivered to customers’ porches to comply with social-distancing guidelines.
“We have done Facebook live videos, we have promoted my website on Facebook and I got my parents and younger brother to buy some cookies,” Kennedy said.
“I’ve been calling a lot of people. My mom posted on NextDoor.com where anyone in Carmel could see that we had cookies for sale,” Grace said. “My mom and I have spent 12 hours delivering cookies. So many people have stepped up to help us. It is cool because people who don’t even know me are trying to help me.”
To help fund the buy-back effort, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana is asking for community support. The public may purchase Girl Scout cookies through May 1 by visiting girlscoutsindiana.org.