Girl Scouts unload cookies at Austin Town Hall for first time

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A semi-truck pulled up the driveway to Austin Town Hall last weekend and started unloading six pallets of Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scouts and leaders from 10 troops lined up to grab the boxes and fill the town hall’s auditorium.

The shipment included over 10,000 boxes of cookies – from the most-popular Thin Mints to the brownie and caramel flavored Adventurefuls. This was one of Chicago’s largest shipments of Girl Scout cookies for the season and will be distributed to troops to hand out across Chicago’s West Side. All cases have already been sold to fulfill orders the troops already made.

For the past several years, West Side troops had to unload their bulk shipment at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, which was completely outside, said Dionne Hawkins, troop leader for the Austin and Douglass Park areas. Hawkins, who works at Austin Town Hall as a drama instructor, suggested the town hall as a new unloading location for this year.

Girl Scout Service Unit Manager Melissa Young-Bridgeforth said unloading orders at Toyota Park into each troop member’s car outside would be an all-day event. This year, the team was able to finish distributing all cookie orders in less than four hours on Saturday. She called the day “perfect.”

Girl Scout Naiya Stewart, of Austin area troop #20368, stands by some of the thousands of cookie boxes that were delivered to Austin Town Hall last weekend.

Cookies sell for $5 a box, and 90 cents goes back to the troop, Hawkins said. Troops use that money to fund patches, trips and events. Last year, Hawkins’ troop was able to go to New York City to see Wicked and to Springfield, Illinois.

“I try to take them to different places because if they don’t see somewhere else, they don’t know somewhere else,” Hawkins said.

Terez Stewart, who volunteers with Hawkins’ Girl Scout troop, said they have a goal to sell 3,000 boxes this year.

“The cookies really fuel our work,” she said. People can find the troop selling at grocery stores in Oak Park or anywhere around the city or order cookies online through March.

Hawkins said her Girl Scouts have developed a sisterhood, where they can make bonds stronger than at school. Girls from grades kindergarten through 12th grade can enroll into a troop at any time.

There is a $25 fee, and anyone can apply for assistance if needed.

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