Here come Girl Scout cookies

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Region - posted Mon., Mar. 7, 2011
Crystal, a volunteer mom from Windham Center's Troop number 65015, picks up a load of cookies. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Crystal, a volunteer mom from Windham Center's Troop number 65015, picks up a load of cookies. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Ever wonder how your Girl Scout cookies get from the bakery to your home? Cookie sales have been part of the Girl Scout experience for almost 100 years. Currently, there are two commercial facilities licensed to produce the eight varieties of cookie on the Girl Scouts menu: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. According to a representative from Syracuse Moving and Storage, local cookies are transported from Little Brownie in Louisville, Kentucky to a storage facility in New Britain, from which they are distributed all over the state.  Syracuse transported two tractor-trailers full of Girl Scout cookies to Lyman Memorial High School on March 5, for distribution to five service units making up approximately 98 local troops.

Receiving cookies during a nearly three-hour effort were the Jonathan Trumbull unit from Lebanon and Columbia, Natchaug from Windham, Chaplin, Hampton and Scotland, Trails from Norwich, Franklin and Bozrah, Massapaug from Colchester and Salem and Green Pines from Sprague/Baltic, Lisbon, Griswold/Jewett City, and Voluntown. Assisting in the endeavor were approximately 40 volunteers from the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Lyman Memorial Honor Society and other groups. Altogether the event processed an estimated 6,654 cases of cookies, or 79,848 boxes.

Each of the service units is asked to provide volunteers. “Volunteers are very important for this day,” said Barbara Wengloski, site captain for the Lyman distribution. “We can’t do it without volunteers.” With a schedule calling for one vehicle moving through each station per minute, the distribution was fast-paced, but well-organized. As vehicles entered the parking lot, they were provided with a color-coded chart identifying the number of cases of each variety of cookie they were scheduled to receive. As vehicles briefly stopped at each of the eight stations (there are eight different varieties of cookie), volunteers could quickly identify how many cases of each cookie to load. Tagalongs and Thin Mints filled up one entire trailer, with the other six varieties sharing a second. According to the Girls Scouts of America website, nationwide Thin Mints sell the best, comprising 25 percent of total cookie sales. Samoas come in second, at 19 percent, with Tagalongs not far behind, at 13 percent.

Wengloski said that all over Connecticut, similar events were going on over the weekend of March 5 and 6. “All of the cookies are delivered to the troops this weekend,” she said. So if you’ve placed an order for Girl Scout cookies, you’ll be receiving your boxes before long.

Some cookie facts from  Licensed bakers can offer up to eight varieties of Girl Scout Cookies; only three types are mandatory: Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos® and Shortbread/Trefoils.  Each of the bakers owns its cookie names, except Thin Mint, which is in the common domain.  All Girl Scout Cookies are kosher. Girl Scout Cookies had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of members. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouting in the United States.

With every purchase, approximately 70 percent of the proceeds stays in the local Girl Scout council to provide a portion of the resources needed to support Girl Scouting in that area, including the  portion that goes directly to the group selling the cookies. The balance goes directly to the baker to pay for the cookies.

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