Sewickley area Girl Scouts ramp up efforts to sell cookies

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:48 p.m.

The deadline to order Girl Scout Cookies is Friday, but Girl Scout leaders say people shouldn't worry if they miss it.

Plenty of cookies will be available at several local booth sales starting Feb. 24, and there will be opportunities for those who want to help the organization.

Sales will be held at Giant Eagle in Leetsdale and at Safran's Supermarket in Sewickley. Beth Fox-McManus of Sewickley handles the booth sale portion of the program.

Specific times and dates are on the free Cookie Locator mobile app that the Girl Scouts released last year on the iTunes and Android devices, said Lisa Shade, spokeswoman for Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. The council serves 36,000 Girl Scouts in 27 counties, including the Sewickley-area based Glen Oaks Girl Scout Service Unit.

Girls are permitted to sell door-to-door if they are with an adult, Shade said. Cookies cost $4 a box, and can't be purchased online because if that was an option, Shade said, girls wouldn't get the benefits of the selling experience.

Heather Wiehe of Leet, a Girl Scouts leader for seven years who leads a cadet group of 16 sixth-graders and a younger Daisy troop with 15 girls, said the girls learn about money exchange, setting and achieving a goal and talking to customers. They play a game to learn about the varieties cookies, and how to answer questions.

People can donate cookies online to the military through Operation: Sweet Appreciation from Feb. 7 through May 26 at The program started last year and more than 30,000 boxes of cookies were sent to veterans, and to men and women serving at home and overseas. Those donating cookies can choose a Girl Scouts troop or an individually registered girl to benefit from the donation.

Barbara Cooley Thaw, manager for the Glen Oaks service unit, which encompasses about 300 troops from Glenfield to Leet, said the unit sends cookies to military personnel. Troops also send cookies and nuts from a fall sale to people they know in the military. Maj. Tina Minoski of Sewickley, a Girl Scouts mom, is serving in Afghanistan, for example, and some others are stationed in Iraq.

Kent McGaughey of Sewickley, who takes the helm of the sale, said Thin Mints have been the most popular cookie but seven other varieties are available.

McGaughey attends training each year, and has been dealing with delivery and distribution of cookies for nine years. About 15 volunteers spend two hours unloading and organizing the cookie shipment, to be delivered Feb. 15 to Fair Oaks Fire Hall on Ambridge Avenue, and two hours distributing the cookies to troops.

The Girl Scouts arrange with moving companies to store and deliver cookies. The Glen Oaks cookies come from Washington or Warrendale.

McGaughey said about 19,000 boxes are sold each year.

Rose Swanson, 19, daughter of Joel and Maria Swanson of Sewickley, was the last Girl Scout in the area to be a “super seller,” selling more than 600 boxes in 2012, Shade said.

Scouts can strive for prizes, depending on how many boxes of cookies they sell, including the big prize of a computer tablet for selling 2,014 boxes.

For each box of cookies sold, Girl Scouts earn 70 cents for their troop. The troop then decides how to use the proceeds. They typically go toward a trip or activity, Shade said.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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