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Drive-thrus, virtual booths, even Grubhub: Girl Scouts find new ways to safely sell cookies

Published: Feb. 7, 2021 at 11:01 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Girls Scouts are usually the ones knocking on doors, not answering them.

But Sunday, Girl Scouts from Troop 5324 opened the front door at the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois office in Cedar Rapids throughout the afternoon, handing off bags full of their famous cookies to drivers from Grubhub, a food delivery service.

“It’s a way where people can just do an online order,” explained Girl Scout Junior Brielle Burbridge, a fifth-grader at Hazel Point Intermediate School. “We can package it, put it in a bag, put it on a table, and wait for someone to come pick it up and drive it to them.”

With troops limiting the person-to-person cookie sales that typically mark the season, such as door-knocking and booths set up outside stores, Girl Scouts are finding new ways to safely sell cookies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes the partnership with Grubhub, allowing for contactless sales in which customers can place orders through the Grubhub app or website and have cookies delivered right to their door on the same day.

Girl Scouts like Burbridge prepare them for pickup, monitoring a tablet that alerts them to sales and bagging cookies to fulfill orders by the time a driver comes to collect them.

“It’s fun packaging things. I like organizing,” Burbridge said.

Much like the classes many girls now take at school, troops also turning to the online sphere to allow for safe cookie sales this year.

Girl Scouts are able to set up their own websites, called “Digital Cookie,” and send links to customers to order online and have cookies shipped to them or have a scout deliver their order. Customers can also choose to buy cookies that will be donated to American service members or essential workers.

“Girls are also trying something called virtual booth sales, where they have scheduled events on Facebook, and customers can join up the event and order cookies to be picked up or delivered as well,” Marilyn Askelson, the director of product program for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, said.

Girl Scouts willing to brave the cold weather that recently arrived in eastern Iowa also sold cookies over the weekend at a drive-thru booth outside Fleet Farm in Cedar Rapids.

“We’ve gotten quite a few customers, but it’s also been really, really cold,” Kelsey Barr, a Girl Scout Senior in Troop 5329 and freshman at Linn-Mar High School, said.

Barr bundled up, masked up, and loaded up cookies Saturday alongside fellow troop members and Linn-Mar freshmen Rylan Stodola and Megan Graves.

Askelson said the cookie program, Girl Scouts’ biggest entrepreneurial program, teaches skills that still need to be learned in the pandemic, like money management, and helps girls set and work toward goals.

“Like go to summer camps,” Stodola said. “What did we do? We went skiing once with the money we made from cookies.”

The extra hard work they’re putting in this year might make those cookies taste even more delicious.

“They’re yummy. Thin Mints are great frozen, and they will be frozen now,” Graves said in her sales pitch to customers stopping on a late morning in which the temperature hovered in the low single digits.

People looking to buy Girl Scout cookies can visit the Cookie Finder website to find cookie booths in their area and get connected with troops to order from them.

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