Girl Scouts Have Tons Of Unsold Cookies & You Can Buy Them To Donate

by Kristina Johnson
Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The pandemic left the Girl Scouts with a massive overstock of cookies

Whether you’re into Thin Mints, can’t get enough Samoas, or love a good old Trefoil, Girl Scout cookie season is one of the most wonderful times of the year. But like with most things, the pandemic led to a major disruption in sales this year. Apparently, Girl Scout cookie warehouses across the country were left with more than 15 million unsold boxes.

“It’s exceedingly rare to have significant excess inventory but the pandemic greatly impacted our cookie program, despite demand for cookies remaining strong,” the organization said in a statement to CNN. That was due in part to social distancing restrictions that made it tougher to set up at the usual hotspots, like malls, parks, shopping centers, and grocery stores, forcing some troops to go digital-only in their sales efforts. But it was also due to the fact that with schools going remote and many extra-curricular activities canceled, fewer girls got the chance to join troops over the past year. Fewer recruits equals fewer cookies sold, sadly.

Scouts sell around 200 million boxes of cookies in a typical year (which makes me feel so much better about the volume of Girl Scout cookies I consume annually, because I’m clearly not alone in my excess cookie-buying habits). Sales figures for the past year haven’t been finalized just yet, but it seems clear that there will be a big drop once the numbers are crunched. That’s a bummer, because 100 percent of the net proceeds for sales stay with local troops and councils, helping them make a difference in their own communities.

If you want to help get those numbers up, you can technically still purchase some cookies. But before you start wondering how many boxes of Thin Mints you can cram in your freezer, there’s a bit of a catch. “The outpouring of support for the cookie program has been overwhelming, so we’ve launched a donation-only site to support the Girl Scout Movement after an unprecedented year,” the organization explains on its website. Any cookies purchased now will be sent to first responders, food banks and other worthy causes.”

Troops only sell to the general public for about 6 to 8 weeks per year, and the organization says most kick off their sales sometime between January and April (though sometimes sales can launch as early as September). So if you want some boxes for yourself, you’ll have to wait a few more months to get your cookie fix.