By Joyce Coronel
One hundred years ago, the Girl Scouts made crunchy sweetness wrapped up in a cookie one of the mainstays of their organization.
A century later, they’re still at it, delivering their ever-popular goodies to neighborhoods in Tempe and West Chandler from now through March 5.
For six weeks each year, Girl Scouts, often attired in their uniforms, knock on doors with goodies such as the ever-popular Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dohs, Savanah Smiles, and of course, S’mores. This year, they’ll also be offering a limited quantity of gluten-free treats dubbed Toffee-tastics.
On a frosty January afternoon, “Cookie Mom” Melanie Gibson, along with her daughter Maddy and two other Girl Scouts, stood at a folding table in front of the Safeway at the corner of McClintock and Elliot. Cartons of cookies stacked on the table, they asked those entering or leaving the South Tempe store if they’d like to purchase a box of the treats.
One gentleman with a basketful of groceries dug into his wallet and handed Luthien Attwood, 13, a $5 bill. “You keep the cookies,” he told her. “Thank you, sir,” Luthien replied with a grin.
It’s all part of the largest financial literacy program for girls in the U.S., according to Melanie. “They learn business ethics, money management, customer service skills, and other skills too.”
Like making change and finishing a project, standing strong when you’d rather be home watching YouTube videos. And all that hard work eventually pays off.
“We get to go on trips,” Maddy said. “Our last two times we went to Disneyland and we’ll probably go to Girl Scout camp this year.”
So what’s the best part of being a Girl Scout?
“I get to do things with my mom and my friends at the same time and I get to benefit my community without any cost,” Maddy said.
The Girl Scout organization requires that each troop use a portion of cookie-sales revenue for community service.
“Every year, we do “Boo Bags” in October,” Melanie said. “Those are candy and toy bags for homeless children who can’t go trick-or-treating. We also do Easter baskets for the homeless kids.”
“And we do Feed My Starving Children,” Maddy added.
For Melanie, the cookie sales involve a bit more than supervising her troop in front of Safeway.
She’s the cookie manager for the East Kyrene Service Unit and started organizing things back in October, placing her cookie order in mid-December.
“The cookies came in Jan. 21 and we all distributed cookies—about 60,000 boxes went out to our 46 troops that are in the East Kyrene neighborhood,” Melanie said.
Hundreds of Girls Scouts throughout Tempe and West Chandler are involved in the cookie sales which run for the next month.
Boxes of cookies are $5 each. S’Mores and gluten free Toffee-tastics are $6 per box.