Girl Scout Cookies Take A Hit From Pandemic

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Girl Scouts kicked off the 2021 Girl Scout Cookie season nationally, during a challenging time when many Girl Scouts are selling in creative, socially distant, and contact-free ways to keep themselves and their customers safe.

In typical years, Girl Scout cookies have little problem finding buyers.

But due to the pandemic, there are far more cookies left over than usual. Safety reasons have forced troops to stop cookie-selling booths outside of stores, where the majority of sales are generated. This has caused a surplus of about 15 million boxes of unsold cookies, according to the Associated Press.

“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,” said Kelly Parisi, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA.

Girl Scouts have been around for over a century. The lack of revenue from cookie sales has put the non-profit youth organization in a bind. Fewer sales of the cookies mean fewer funds left over for programming, travel, camps and other activities. 

A normal season of cookie sales for the Girl Scouts consists of about 200 million boxes per year, which are worth around $800 million.

Online cookies sales have become the next best thing. After years of shunning sales through the Internet, in 2014 the Girl Scouts approved “Digital Cookie."

Customers were also encouraged to buy cookies through their Hometown Hero’s program, which distributes cookies to healthcare workers and firefighters, but this hasn’t completely solved their problem.

The Girl Scouts are concerned about what to do with the multitudes of cookies they have leftover. The cookies have a one-year shelf life.

Some leaders of the council admit the organization should have better prepared for a lower amount of Girl Scout cookie sales due to the number of girls enrolling during the beginning of the pandemic being lower in general. Which was also caused by parents concerned about the safety of being a part of the program during the pandemic.

The Girl Scouts ran into a similar problem during World War II, when they were forced to sell calendars rather than cookies due to sugar, butter, and flour shortages in their biggest financial hit.

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