MORRIS – Girl Scouts from the Mazon-Gardner-Morris-Coal City Troop 75466 spent their Saturday giving out boxes of cookies to local “hometown heroes” from donations they received during their cookie drive this year.
Volunteer Maria Sjostrom, mother of Girl Scout Bristol of Gardner said as they went door-to-door taking orders for cookies and manning booths at area stores, they also asked customers if they’d like to donate for the purchase of cookies for local law enforcement officers, firemen, paramedics, dispatchers and hospital emergency room workers.
Some people don’t want to buy cookies, Sjostrom said. They don’t want the calories or they are diabetic or they just don’t like cookies. But many of them wanted to donate to give back to their community’s first responders.
It was good for the girls to learn how to speak to the public, too, Sjostrom said.
“Bristol started out really shy,” her mother said. “She would barely even say her name when she first started last year, then by the end of the year, she would say, ‘Hi, I’m Bristol. Would you like to buy Girl Scout cookies or you can donate to a hometown hero?’”
On Saturday, Bristol, Cassidy Thorson of Morris, and Veronica Pink of Coal City got to deliver the cookies purchased from the donations. Girl Scout Breanne Elias of Mazon also collected for the donations but was not able to make the delivery rounds.
Their first stop was the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance Station 2. Several of the station’s men and women came out to accept their boxes of cookies. Most chose thin mints, and the others chose trefoils and tagalongs.
The firemen and paramedics said they doubted the cookies would make it through their shift. One joked that his might not make it back inside the building.
“Thank you,” Lieutenant David Bezely said to the girls and their parents. “We appreciate it. We definitely love our Thin Mints.”
Bezely promised the boxes donated to the men and women on the other shifts would not be accosted in the meantime.
The troop began record-breaking sales last year, when they sold enough to donate more than 300 boxes to hometown heroes. This year, they sold 21,377 boxes of cookies and donated more than 700 boxes.
The 12 girls in the troop, ages 5-11, spent hours selling the cookies and asking for donations. Sjostrom said the top-sellers spent time on the fundraiser just about every day.
“There was hardly anybody untouched around our area,” Sjostrom said with a laugh. “If they didn’t answer, we’d go back.”
On Saturday, they had 22 departments to deliver to in Grundy County, including police, fire, ambulance, sheriff, emergency management and conservation officers in Morris, Braceville, Coal City, Gardner, Mazon, Minooka, South Wilmington, Braidwood, Seneca and Dwight. They have a couple more to finish up later this week.
They will also deliver 60 boxes to the Morris Hospital emergency room.
Sjostrom said she was impressed at the troop’s commitment. The girls were the ones who decided who to donate to and where the portion of the money their troop receives will go.
They will do service projects with some of the dollars. In the past, they have baked cookies and donated magazine subscriptions for nursing homes and have donated toward the purchase of an ice machine for the Mazon American Legion.
This year, they will join with the Morris Police Department to place AEDs in R Place Restaurant, among other community service projects.
They will also be able to go camping and do some fun things for themselves.
“Every penny they make goes to Girl Scout programs in our area,” Sjostrom said.
The troop’s top earner, Bristol, earned a Disney trip, as well. Bristol took second place in the region, which includes all of greater Chicago and northwest Indiana. Cassidy took sixth place in the region.
These girls have the power to change the world, Sjostrom said.