The non-profit organization has officially kicked off its national 2021 cookie season, which includes a new flavor: Toast-Yay!, described as a French toast-inspired cookie dipped in icing.
“It’s a maple-flavored, crispy cookie on the top, with a great toasted bottom,” Ginger Lallo, who is the senior director of advancement for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England, told NBC 10 News during a phone interview.
“We think it’s going to be a big hit,” she added. “There are standard favorites that everyone likes, like Thin Mints, Caramel deLights, Peanut Butter Patties, which are the top three sellers of the nine varieties we offer. But the Toast-Yay! is unique and I think people will love it.”
Not only is the annual cookie sale the non-profit’s longest fundraiser at more than 100 years old, Lallo said it’s also the biggest, with proceeds to remain in Southern New England.
She said girls as young as 5-years-old learn many skills through the initiative, such as planning, goal setting, decision making, marketing, money management, business ethics, and more.
“I think girls need this cookie program now more than ever and they want to be involved in Girl Scouts,” Lallo said. “We’ve sent out safety protocols on social distancing and safety because safety is always the number one priority for our girls and all of our members.”
Even though they haven’t been able to meet in-person, she said the cookie sale inspires them to work together to “embrace their entrepreneurial spirits, stay connected to their communities, and have fun.”
Mikayla Silcox, 17, is a Girl Scout in Warwick. She and her sister, Mackenzie, 15, are members of Troop 274.
Mikayla, who is a junior at Toll Gate High School, said they have been coming up with socially distant and contact-free ways to keep themselves and customers safe.
New methods include running virtual cookie booths on social media, setting up drive-through locations at grocery stores and bands, and arranging orders that ship directly to customers’ doors.
“It’s pretty weird but we’re managing,” she said.
Plus, they’ve been contacting friends and family on social media, encouraging them to purchase cookies.
“It’s more so people we know, instead of going to random houses or cookie booths,” Mikayla said.
Her mother, Christine, along with Bethany Maseena Tracy, are two of four leaders of the troop. They have been meeting via Zoom and supervising the sales.
While they said the pandemic has presented some obstacles, they are adapting.
“It’s been difficult this year. The girls can’t go door-to-door like they used to,” Slicox said. “Usually, my girls would go around the neighborhood with the order forms, but you can’t do that. So, they came up with ways how to promote Girl Scout cookies via social media, how to take payments on social media, and how to take orders. We gave them some ideas and suggestions and had them figure out how to market it.”
Maseena Tracy shared similar sentiments. She said the girls have been creating stories on Instagram and Snapchat to help sell the tasty treats.
“They did a poll asking, ‘What’s your favorite cookie?” Maseena Tracy said. “The girls follow up with them and say, ‘Hey, you want to buy a box?’ and then we do socially distanced drop offs. It is different from how we’ve run a cookie program before.”
Her daughter, Annabelle, 14, who along with her sister, Olivia, 17, attend Bay View Academy and are also part of the troop, agreed. But despite challenges, they said they are learning a lot, having a good time, and promoting their cause.
“We want people to know we’re still selling cookies,” Annabelle said. “We’re here and ready as ever to sell cookies.”
They also enjoy eating the cookies. Annabelle said she likes Caramel DeLights best, while Mikayla prefers Peanut Butter Patties.
Other flavors include traditional shortbread cookies, Lemonades, which are lemon-flavored shortbread cookies, as the S’mores cookie, which features chocolate, icing, and a graham cracker base.
Lallo said this year will be the last to purchase the S’mores cookie, with a new cookie to replace it in 2022.
There’s also a gluten-free and peanut-free option.
“It’s a caramel chocolate chip cookie,” Lallo said.
Starting Jan. 23, Lallo said the Girl Scout Cookie Finder will give customers another online option to find cookies by entering a zip code.
Girl Scouts has also partnered with Grubhub, an online food ordering and delivery platform that offers contact-free pickup and deliveries.
Lallo said cookies will be deliverable in the Warwick area, with consumers ordering on Grubhub.com or the Grubhub app.
“Grubhub is waving their fee for that,” Lallo said.
The cookies are $5 per box.
To order through Grubhub, visit www.grubhub.com/food/girl_scouts.
Order via the Girl Scout Cookie Finder girlscoutcookies.org.
Learn more at gssne.org or text COOKIES to 59618.
Girl Scout Cookie season in Southeastern New England continues through March 28.