Many people will tell you Girl Scout Cookie season ranks right up there as one of the best times of the year. For some, the joy comes from trying the year’s newest flavor, for others, it’s the comfort of their favorite classic variety that brings back special memories.
For military service members deployed overseas, reminders of home can be few and far between, but the Girl Scouts of America and national nonprofit Operation Gratitude are working to change that. For nearly 20 years, the Girl Scouts have partnered with OG to send the treasured treats to Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Sailors as a way to say “thank you” and to assure them that their service and sacrifice have not gone unnoticed.
Operation Gratitude received their first donation of Girl Scout Cookies during their 2004 “Patriotic Drive”- just a year after OG was officially founded. The first donations were from individual Girl Scouts or their troops who chose OG as their “Gift of Caring” recipient. These types of donations grew every year after, and soon, the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles named Operation Gratitude as an official Gift of Caring charity. Other regions in California and throughout the country followed suit. Eventually, the number of boxes designated to Operation Gratitude became so large that the Girl Scout regions had the donations shipped directly to them from the warehouse, and they would arrive by the truckloads!
The cookies are included in hundreds of thousands of Operation Gratitude Care Packages distributed across the globe to service members stationed so far from home. These brightly colored cookie boxes contain so much more than a special snack, but also bring smiles to the faces of their recipients who know someone stateside is thinking of them.
The Girl Scouts’ participation with Operation Gratitude doesn’t end with the cookie deliveries. In addition to individual scouts, troops and councils donating these items, they also volunteer at Operation Gratitude Care Package Assembly Days and participate in a variety of service projects like hosting OG collection drives, crafting Handmade with Love items or paracord bracelets, and handwriting notes of encouragement and appreciation. The time, effort, and personal touch by volunteers that goes into Operation Gratitude Care Packages are what service members say makes the biggest difference.
In 2021 alone, the Girl Scout Cookie donation to Operation Gratitude is expected to total around a quarter of a million boxes. As Operation Gratitude’s mission grows, so, too, does the impact of the Girl Scouts’ donations. Cookies and other items the organization contributes are also being included in care packages delivered to first responders and healthcare heroes who protect and serve our communities in a different, but equally important way.
Through their partnership with Operation Gratitude, the Girl Scouts are connecting communities, giving back, and making a real difference. Though COVID-19 has put a temporary pause on some of Operation Gratitude’s larger in-person assembly efforts, there are still plenty of ways for Girl Scouts to get involved. For more information on virtual volunteerism, visit https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks-virtual-groups/.
Written by our friends at Operation Gratitude