Girl Scouts pass goal in cookie sales; deliveries start Tuesday

Girl Scouts pass goal in cookie sales; deliveries start Tuesday

CHAMPAIGN – Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Sandwiches by the hundreds of thousands are en route to East Central Illinois.

Crunching and munching of the fundraising cookies sold by the Girl Scouts get under way when deliveries start on Tuesday.

Scouts in five area counties took orders for 20,848 cases of cookies during the last two weeks of January. That means 250,176 boxes of the treats will be in kitchen pantries, if they make it that far, by March 18.

"We are at our goal and up 700 cases over last year," said Holly Thompson, who is in charge of fund development and communications for the Champaign Regional Service Center of the Girl Scouts. Her office represents 195 troops in Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Vermilion and Iroquois counties.

"The economy affected what each girl sold, but we had more girls selling this year," she said. "The average number of boxes per girl are down."

"We are very pleased with cookie sales and not having to cut programs," Thompson said. "Corporate sponsorships and annual campaign donations are down because of the economy."

Reports from Girl Scout offices all over the country last week showed some areas down in sales – as much as 19 percent in eastern South Carolina.

To make up for the higher cost of ingredients, bakers had to cut cookie counts on the three most popular varieties and decrease the size of one flavor. Adjustments enabled the price to remain at $3.50 per box for the sixth year. The bakeries keep about one-third of the cost of each box.

Bakers licensed by the Girl Scouts are required to make 10-ounce boxes of Thin Mints and 9-ounce boxes of Peanut Butter Sandwich and Shortbread cookies. They can make up to five other kinds of cookies for the Girl Scout sale.

ABC Bakers-Interbake Foods of Richmond, Va. – which supplies Girl Scouts of central Illinois in 38 counties with all its cookies– has put two to four fewer of the most popular cookies in each box. That means fewer Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Shortbreads.

The other authorized baker – Little Brownie Bakers of Louisville, Ky. – has done the same, plus it reduced the size of its Lemon Chalet Cremes, a sandwich-style cookie exclusive to its plant but not sold in this area.

Peanuts from a Georgia distributor that caused a national salmonella scare were not used in any Girl Scout cookies, according to numerous news releases from national Girl Scout headquarters and both bakers.

And, if the economy and peanut butter scares were not enough of a problem for Girl Scout cookie sales, The New York Times reported that ABC package designers initially left the kosher symbol off of 14 million boxes of Thin Mints.

Neither baker changes the Thin Mints name, but they give different titles to the other two cookies in the popular trio. ABC's Peanut Butter Sandwich and Shortbread cookies are called Do-Si-Dos and Trefoils by Little Brownie.

"People get a little confused because of Internet and television advertising," Thompson said.

Cookies made exclusively by ABC and sold in this area are: Thanks-a-Lot, a shortbread cookie with a layer of fudge on the bottom and "thank you" in different languages embossed on top; Lemonades, shortbread cookies stamped in the shape of a sliced lemon with lemon icing; and Daisy Go Rounds, bite-sized reduced fat cinnamon cookies packaged in 100-calorie snack packs.

Besides the Lemon Chalet Cremes, those who get cookies from Little Brownie have exclusive access to: Sugar Free Chocolate Chips and Dulce de Leche, with milk caramel chips and stripes.

Both bakers are making round cookies with a layer of peanut butter on top and covered in chocolate – called Peanut Butter Patties by ABC and Tagalongs by Little Brownie – and doughnut-shaped cookies covered in caramel and toasted coconut with stripes of chocolate – called Caramel deLites by ABC and Samoas by Little Brownie.

Cookies for sale

Attention Girl Scout cookie fans!

If you did not order early, or want to buy more cookies, there still is hope:

– Visit the Champaign Regional Service Center, 701 Devonshire Drive, C. Call 328-5112 first to check hours and flavor availability. Cookies usually are available through April, but popular flavors will not be around that long.

– If several households in your neighborhood want cookies, notify the service center and it might be able to send troop members on what it calls a "walk-about" with cookies for sale.

– Check out shopping centers and grocery stores for Girl Scout cookie sales booths, starting March 7.

– Check the Web site for sale locations and times.