Girl Scout Troops selling cookies for soldiers

Cookie Share allows yearly tradition to reach American military abroad.

On Feb. 14, Cherry Hill’s Girl Scout Troop 3005 sold cookies at Haddonfield’s PATCO station as part of a fundraiser called ‘Cookie Share,’ which sends the annual treats to American soldiers serving abroad. Pictured from back left: Colleen Mivelaz, Cherry Hill-Haddonfield cookie booth coordinator, Troop 30035 Cookie Manager Erik Fleming, and Nicole Grippi. From front left: troop members Adriana G., Rose A., Ella A., and Sophia F.

Haddonfield’s PATCO station was one of seven locations throughout the region where The Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey (GSCSNJ) hawked their wares so that all branches of the Armed Forces could share in the bounty of its yearly collection.  

As busy commuters returned to the borough on Feb. 14, four members of Girl Scout Troop 30035 from Cherry Hill were making their case to the public to pitch in for the troops.

Dubbed “Cookie Share,” it is a service project that enables the community to send cookies to American soldiers without having to incur the effort or cost of handling and shipping. GSCSNJ uses partnerships with Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure the treats find their intended recipients.

“It’s eight weeks total for the sale. We started on Jan. 16 and it ends on March 8. They actually get sent virtually. They don’t actually send them from the house of the holder; it actually comes out of a bank,” noted Colleen Mivelaz, Cherry Hill-Haddonfield cookie booth coordinator for the last decade. 

“The baker sends the cookies down, so there’s no actual freight involved for the troops. At the end of the sale, (the total number of boxes sold) gets accumulated and when all the paperwork gets turned in, the baker says ‘we have x amount,’ and they send them out for us.”

Girl Scouts will be at the station, located between Rosedale and Westmont avenues, from 4 to 7 p.m. every Friday for the duration of the sale. 

“My sister is 20 years Naval retired, a chief. So she’s excited they do the program that we’re supporting today for the troops,” Mivelaz added. 

“The cookies do go to Fort Dix, Lakehurst and McGuire. They get shipped there and then sent over (to troops overseas). Aunt Barbie loves it — she supports the girls 100 percent every year, even from Florida.”

Erik Fleming, cookie manager for Troop 3005, said that he “doesn’t have a house” during the two months of the cookie season, which lasts from mid-January to mid-March. Counter to logic, they are the perfect conditions and perfect deterrent against snacking. 

“We usually have about 4,000 cookies in my dining room; it’s a cookie warehouse. I personally wait until after the season is over to start eating them,” he admitted. 

Though parents take an active role in introducing their children to the Scouts, the sales themselves are the responsibility of the girls, who learn their first lessons in planning, execution and commerce. 

“‘This is not mom and dad’s job — this is the Girl Scout’s job to sell the cookies. They come up with the plan and the business model. They even have their own online store,” Fleming added. 

Last year, GSCSNJ shipped 2,945 cases (more than 35,000 boxes) of cookies to men and women serving the country overseas, according to an organizational release. This year, the girls of GSCSNJ hopes to exceed a goal of 3,100 cases by the time the fundraiser is complete. 

“My troop, last year we donated 13.5 cases, a total of 162 boxes for the military. Our goal is to top that this year, of course,” Fleming stated. 

For more information about the regional Girl Scout organization, visit: www.gscsnj.org/. For more information about Cookie Share, visit: www.gscsnj.org/en/cookies/for-cookie-sellers/taste-of-home.html