By MADDY VITALE
Sea Isle City Girl Scout Troop 41012 members are showing their creative side with in-person and virtual cookie booths during the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit many organizations.
On Saturdays, weather permitting, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through February, the Girl Scouts will be selling cookies outside of the Sea Isle City Welcome Center at 300 JFK Boulevard.
“With the purchase of that box of yummy cookies you are helping girls earn their way to new, amazing experiences for themselves and their troop,” explained Troop Leader Kristy Pittaluga.
Money raised from the cookie sales goes toward many things that help the young entrepreneurs. It could help with a community-service project or give a Girl Scout an opportunity to build life skills and memories at camp or take a trip.
The first sale at the Welcome Center, held last Saturday, went well, Pittaluga noted. The other Troop leaders are Kathe Wilken and Danielle Larsen.
Residents, including local police officers, purchased the cookies for the good cause.
And for those who don’t wish to pick up their cookies, they could go the virtual route.
“The Girl Scouts have helped to reinvent the classic cookie booth,” Pittaluga said, adding that the virtual booth offers convenience and safety and ease for customers. “Now with the scan of a QR barcode that the girls created, you will be brought to our Troops ABC Smart Cookie Page.”
“Pick out a few favorite cookies and pay for them on the day of your pickup or drive on over and you never have to get out of your car,” Pittaluga pointed out. “Just roll down the window.”
Pittaluga noted that in addition to driving up for cookies, there are also door hangers available on the website for cookie customers.
“If someone is concerned about COVID, we can simply scan your card on the door hanger,” she said.
For those who don’t wish to purchase cookies, but still give a donation to the Girl Scouts, the money will go toward a program called Cookie Share benefiting military families.
All Cookie Share donations council-wide are added up, and then the Girls Scout Cookie Share New Jersey group will make one large delivery of cookies from their warehouses.
This year’s delivery of Girl Scout cookies will go to support the men and women of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the United States Coast Guard and the NJ Community Food Bank.
Last year, 2,444 cases of Girl Scout Cookies were donated through this program and this year’s goal is 2,800 cases, Pittagula said.
Since the pandemic hit in March of 2020, things have been greatly altered for everyone, Pittaluga said.
The way the Girl Scouts do things has been very different. During the socially distanced cookie sales at the Welcome Center and the Girl Scouts meetings, only a certain number of members may attend.
But typical of Girl Scouts in Troop 41012, they have shown their strength and creativity, Pittaluga said.
“We feel like the silver lining of COVID has been to force all of us to come up with creative ways to do things in a new way,” she said. “The life lessons the girls have experienced through this cookie season has definitely helped them grow.”
The Girl Scouts continue to hone their skills setting goals, learning how to manage money, building confidence and becoming entrepreneurs.
Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio summed it up in a recent statement:
“As we are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of life as we know it – and that includes how Girl Scouts will be selling their cookies this year,” Desiderio said. “We applaud the Girl Scouts and their troop leaders for maintaining focus on their goals – and for staying safe, all the while getting cookies in the hands of everyone who looks forward to their annual sale.”
For more information about the Girl Scouts, visit girlscouts.org