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Strange, challenging year for Girl Scouts amid pandemic, but success stories seen throughout

Area troops in the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Council (GSNYPENN) sold 1,784,697 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies during the 2020 program—which was unique, historic and challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

33,207 of those boxes were purchased by customers through the Sweet Support Council Gift of Caring annual service project and/or donated by the council to Meals on Wheels and numerous hometown entities serving on the front lines of the pandemic across GSNYPENN’s territory (24 counties in New York, two in northern Pennsylvania).

“The hard work and dedication of our girls and volunteers each cookie season is always unmatched. This year, we encountered a hurdle we’ve never experienced before due to the pandemic—making for both a unique and historic cookie program,” says Julie Dale, GSNYPENN CEO.

“Our members did what Girl Scouts do best—lead and help. Through the assistance of community partners and customers who supported our girls, we were able to raise funds for troops and also deliver a sweet treat to communities served by Meals on Wheels and our hometown essential workers during a time when they truly needed it most. We’re so grateful for the continued support of our Girl Scouts.”

Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls learn financial literacy, practice entrepreneurship and develop essential leadership skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. Purchases support local Girl Scouts who use their cookie earnings to power experiences for themselves and their troops. Funds raised always stay local to help troops in several ways including community service projects, programming, camp adventures and more.

With social distancing/shelter at home mandates in effect to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus during what is traditionally the busiest time of GSNYPENN’s cookie season, the council and its troops were forced to cancel all community booth sales and get creative fast. Staff and members moved quickly to extend the season end date from March 29 to May 31, market online sales via girls’ Digital Cookie links, encourage customers to make purchases to be donated to Meals on Wheels and/or hometown heroes on the front lines of the pandemic in their communities, instate no-contact cookie deliveries, and partner with local businesses to help troops sell remaining inventory.

Due to local effects of the pandemic, regional Meals on Wheels have experienced an increase in the number of elderly community members requesting services and Girl Scout Cookies became a special treat for these recipients. 7,332 boxes were distributed to these meal programs across GSNYPENN’s service area. Meals on Wheels supports more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. The network serves virtually every community to deliver nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity, strengthening communities one senior at a time.

In addition, thousands of boxes of donated cookies were also distributed to hometown heroes, essential workers and other local entities on the front lines of the pandemic. This included doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff; police and fire departments; EMTs and paramedics; postal carriers; grocery workers; cleaning companies; school district staff and student meal delivery programs; nursing home residents and staff; the Food Bank of Central New York; local and regional food cupboards and pantries; and more.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The GSNYPENN council and its members would like to thank the following local businesses for their extraordinary support of troops during the 2020 cookie season:

Alexandria Bay Big M SupermarketAlexandria BayNY
Gigi’s PlaceApalachinNY
Atlantic SeafoodBaldwinsvilleNY
Cam’s PizzaBaldwinsvilleNY
Sunshine Ice CreamBaldwinsvilleNY
Village Ace HardwareBaldwinsvilleNY
3rd Rail General StoreBerkshireNY
Social on StateBinghamtonNY
Top This PizzaBrewertonNY
Bear Creek RestaurantBrewertownNY
Lakeport MarketBridgeportNY
Brookton’s MarketBrooktondaleNY
Cam’s PizzaCamillusNY
Primo’s De Tico’s GrillCarthageNY
Arctic King Ice CreamCentral SquareNY
Buttercup CheeseCentral SquareNY
Joa’s By The BayCentral SquareNY
Mark’s Service CenterCentral SquareNY
Red Onion GroceryCentral SquareNY
Advance Auto PartsCiceroNY
Scoops Ice Cream ShoppeCiceroNY
Spera’s Old Fashioned Meat MarketCiceroNY
Thee Diner & Ice CreamCiceroNY
Jason’s Auto RepairClayNY
Utica CoffeeClintonNY
Simmons Tree FarmCopenhagenNY
P&C FreshCortlandNY
Matthews Motor CompanyCovingtonPA
Brown’s PharmacyDepositNY
Dexter MarketDexterNY
Dryden AgwayDrydenNY
Pizza and BonesDrydenNY
Elmira Save-a-Lot SupermarketElmiraNY
Endicott OriginalsEndicottNY
Rossi’s Pizza EndicottEndicottNY
Toad’s Too Ice Cream OasisFreevilleNY
Burke’s Home CenterFultonNY
Kathy’s Cakes & Big Dipper Ice CreamFultonNY
Small Town Supply Ace HardwareGouverneurNY
Dougherty Pharmacy Beer ShoppeHamiltonNY
Sliders Food MartHarrisvilleNY
Marino’s Italian RestaurantHastingsNY
Jones Family Farm LLCHerkimerNY
Big Boy’s Gas & TobaccoHogansburgNY
Lamphere’s MarketHopkintonNY
Horseheads Jubilee FoodsHorseheadsNY
Cayuga Lake CreameryInterlakenNY
Finger Lakes Beverage CenterIthacaNY
P&C FreshIthacaNY
Rossi’s PizzaJohnson CityNY
Bare ArmsLittle FallsNY
Ed’s Pizza PlaceLittle FallsNY
Advance Auto PartsLiverpoolNY
Mazzye’s MeatsLiverpoolNY
Nichols Supermarket & Discount LiquorsLiverpoolNY
Nojaim Bros of MarcellusMarcellusNY
Corky’s CollisionMassenaNY
Dougherty PharmacyMorrisvilleNY
New York PizzeriaNew BerlinNY
Mangia Macrina’s Wood Fired PizzaNew HartfordNY
Lambertt’s AtticNewark ValleyNY
AT&TNorth SyracuseNY
Mike’s AutoNorth SyracuseNY
Toss & Fire Wood PizzaNorth SyracuseNY
Wayne Emmons AgencyNorwichNY
Ye Olde Polke StoreNorwichNY
The Old Forge HardwareOld ForgeNY
Bosco’s MealOswegoNY
Cam’s PizzaOswegoNY
Garafolo’s ImportingOswegoNY
Ontario OrchardsOswegoNY
Oswego Sub ShopOswegoNY
Paul’s Big MOswegoNY
Raby’s Ace Home CenterOswegoNY
Red’s Scriba MarketOswegoNY
Scriba MeatsOswegoNY
Seneca WarehouseOswegoNY
Ovid Big MOvidNY
Rylee’s Place Family DinerOvidNY
Confection Connection OwegoOwegoNY
River Rock DinerOwegoNY
Sugar Maple CaféOwegoNY
Breen’s Shop N SavePalmyraNY
Happy Valley InnParishNY
Cam’s PizzaPhoenixNY
Wrightway HardwarePhoenixNY
Lamphere’s MarketPotsdamNY
Deaton’s Building & Home CenterPulaskiNY
Stephano’s Pizzeria & RestaurantPulaskiNY
Mister ShakeRichfield SpringsNY
LaRoma’s Pizzeria & RestaurantRomeNY
Mazzaferro’s Meat & DeliRomeNY
Autumn’s Harvest FarmRomulusNY
Schrader Farms Meat MarketRomulusNY
A-Verdi Storage ContainersSavannahNY
Red’s Scriba MarketScribaNY
Sherburne Big MSherburneNY
It’s My DeliSidney CenterNY
Bosco’s Village PubSolvayNY
Fun City ServiceSpencerNY
Spencer Shurfine FoodmartSpencerNY
Mother’s Cupboard Fish Fry DinerSyracuseNY
Premier TechnologiesSyracuseNY
Wally’s BelvedereSyracuseNY
Flynn BeveragesTowandaPA
Union Springs Shurfine SupermarketsUnion SpringsNY
Rosario’s PizzeriaUticaNY
Utica CoffeeUticaNY
Northern Ace Home CenterVolneyNY
Local 315 Brewing CompanyWarnersNY
Packy’s PubWashington MillsNY
Ciccino’s PizzeriaWaterlooNY
F-n-A’s Rhythm and BoozeWaterlooNY
Burrville Power EquipmentWatertownNY
Griff’s Beverage WatertownWatertownNY
Steiners General Store & DinerWatertownNY
The General StoreWatertownNY
Elliotts Farm & Home SupplyWinthropNY
Pete’s NY PizzaWolcottNY
Arey Building SupplyWysoxPA

Girl Scouts serves girls in grades K-12. Annual membership is $25. Financial assistance is available. To register a girl online, visit To become an adult volunteer, learn more at

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