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The Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road (GSKWR) are asking for businesses and organizations to purchase surplus cookies. Girl Scout cookie sales represent over 80% of GSKWR's annual operating budget, however the COVID-19 epidemic prevents the organization from going door-to-door.

The Wilderness Road branch serves Girl Scouts with 66 Kentucky counties, including Laurel. Now the GSKWR Girl Scouts are seeking new, innovative ways to sell their remaining surplus of 456 boxes of cookies used to fund their year-round programming.

"We were right in middle of our Girl Scout cookie sales when the the COVID-19 outbreak hit," explained Haleigh McGraw, communications director of Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road. Cookie sales, she added, fund the organization's programs, as well as growth opportunities that provide local girls the chance to set goals and earn their own money.

"We actually have one older Girl Scout preparing to intern at Disney World over the summer. She was relying on the cookie sale money to help pay for that," McGraw recalled.

Money earned by Girl Scout cookie sales stays local. Money not used for programs and growth opportunities goes back into preparing and selling more cookies.

According to McGraw, the response has been positive from businesses and organizations in Northern and Western Kentucky, with Laurel County Girl Scouts down to 500 boxes. Companies and organizations in Laurel County are urged to purchase cases of cookies to either donate to essential workers that have been profoundly impacted by COVID-19 or to use for other organizational initiatives. The GSKWR says the surplus cookies could be purchased for the following uses:

- Donations for front-line workers in healthcare, restaurant businesses, manufacturing, distribution and other essential organizations that continue to work during the COVID-19 crisis

- Donations to food banks or senior facilities to support vulnerable populations

- Incentives for clients, customers or employees

- Treats for upcoming company, organizational, or personal events planned for this summer

"Our Girl Scout Troops actually came up with the idea to drive a call to action to the local business community to buy cookies to thank employees and help support all the local social service agencies," said McGraw. "Our hope is that the business community will step up and buy all of our surplus inventory so that we can continue to serve our 8,000 K-12 girl members throughout Central, Eastern and Northern Kentucky."

GSKWR is asking businesses to support its Kentucky Cookie Entrepreneurs by purchasing as many cases as they can, with a minimum of five cases for $250.

Businesses and organizations can purchase cases of cookies with a $250 minimum, go to www.gskentucky.org/cookie-relief or contact Tammy Durham, Director of Grants and Community Partnerships at tdurham@gswrc.org.

Individuals may purchase cookies by contacting GSKWR via email at gswrc@gswrc.org, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kygirlscouts/, or by ordering online at https://www.facebook.com/kygirlscouts/.

To learn more about the Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road, visit www.gskentucky.org.

dcombs@sentinel-echo.com

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