It’s cookie time!

Girl Scouts busy now with their big annual fundraiser

Posted 1/31/19


News + Record Staff

PITTSBORO -- There was a hub of activity around a trailer that will be anchored for the next couple of months at Matt Marki’s home in Pittsboro.

On a …

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It’s cookie time!

Girl Scouts busy now with their big annual fundraiser

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PITTSBORO -- There was a hub of activity around a trailer that will be anchored for the next couple of months at Matt Marki’s home in Pittsboro.

On a recent night, Girl Scout troop leaders from across Chatham County were arriving at Marki’s home at half-hour intervals, all on the same mission important to the girls’ leadership development organization.

A weather-resistant banner affixed to the trailer’s steel siding explains: “It’s cookie time!”

That would be Girl Scout Cookies, of course. And now is indeed their time.

January 12th opened the limited window of availability of the popular snacks, so from now through March, Girl Scouts across the county are conducting their largest – and most visible – fundraising activity of the year: working to sell thousands of boxes of cookies.

Inside the trailer – called the “cookie cupboard” – were pallets of neatly-stacked green, yellow and purple boxes containing the iconic sweet treats.

There are Thin Mints, certainly, and Caramel deLites. You’ll find Peanut Butter Patties, Shortbreads and Lemonades. And there are also Savannah Smiles, a cookie whose name is a nod to Savannah, Georgia, where Juliette Gordon Lowe founded the girls’ scouting organization in 1912.

More than 100 years after it was born, the Girl Scouts organization, with a membership today of 1.8 million girls, is still going strong and making significant differences in the lives of its members.

“It’s a very important program,” LaDonna Lineberry, leader of Troop 1031 in Silk Hope, said of the Girl Scout program.

Known to many as “the Cookie Lady” because of her years of involvement in the program, Lineberry said that while the well-known cookie program gets a lot of attention, there’s a lot more going on with Girl Scouts than Thin Mints.

“There used to be home economics classes in schools,” said Lineberry. “Now they don’t’ teach those things. They don’t teach manners, discipline, how to handle money. There are a lot of common sense things that aren’t taught anymore.”

Girl Scouts – much more than just an outlet for tasty cookies a few months of the year -- helps fill that educational void, she said.

“The point is to get the girls out and doing things,” said Lineberry.

“And our troop does a lot,” she said. “We camp and fish. We’re in parades. We pack goody bags for veterans and hand them out. We’re involved with coat drives and blanket drives and toy drives and recycling. We go caroling at nursing homes.”

Each year, Girl Scouts deliver more than 70 million hours of community service.

Lineberry first joined the organization as a scout herself and got involved with scouting again when her daughter, Stephanie, followed in her footsteps. Now 27, Stephanie, like her mother, is still involved, now as a Girl Scout Daisy leader.

The mother and daughter were among the local Scout leaders at Marki’s home last week transferring boxes of cookies from the well-stocked cupboard to their cars, to take the boxes back to their home base to sell.

Lineberry’s troop was one of several lined up to sell cookies at Walmart in Siler City over the weekend and throughout the season.

And sell they do. A lot.

Stephanie herself, from the time she joined Girls Scouts in 1st grade until she aged out of the program in her late teens, was only 80 boxes shy of selling a total of 10,000 boxes of cookies.

All proceeds earned from the sale of cookies in Chatham County stays in the county.

“This is our big fundraiser for the year,” Lineberry said.

Just a couple of weeks into this year’s cookie season, Lineberry said her troop’s efforts to move all those colorful boxes are “going really well. We’ve sold a lot of them and we’re here to get more.”

Caramel deLites, she said, are her troop’s biggest seller.

“But you’ve got something for everybody,” said Lineberry, noting the wide variety of flavors available to suit a wide variety of tastes.

“We’ve pretty well got it all covered,” she said.

The volume of Girl Scout cookies sold every year is impressive, too.

For this year’s season, Chatham County scouts started with a supply of 21,000 boxes, said Marki, who became active with the Girl Scouts more than 30 years ago when his three daughters joined and has stayed with the program - even after his daughters aged out, coordinating cookie sales in Chatham for the last quarter of a century.

The cookie cupboard parked in his driveway supplies Chatham County scouts throughout the selling period. In addition to the 21,000 boxes initially distributed to local scouts for sale, the cupboard held at the start of the season an additional 20,000 boxes to re-supply troops.

By early spring when sales wind down, most of those thousands of boxes will be sold thanks to the efforts of local Girl Scouts, Marki said.

“Behind Oreos, Thin Mints are the single largest-selling cookie in the United States,” Marki said.

For each box sold, local scouts keep 50 cents and it’s up to the girls to determine how those funds – once the demanding work of selling them has been completed -- are spent.

Troops save up for a variety of things, including trips to Washington, D.C., or Savannah, the birthplace of the program.

“If you’re willing to go out and work at it, it’s doable,” said Lineberry.

For those who want to snag their favorite flavors, be on the lookout for booth sales at larger stores in the county, said Kristan Shimpi, Girl Scouts of N.C. Coastal Pines membership director for Chatham, Lee and Moore counties.

Shimpi also urges those interested in purchasing Girl Scout cookies to download the cookie finder app for IOS or Android mobile devices or visit and enter a zip code in the Girl Scout Cookie Finder.


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