Girl Scouts seek help shipping cookies to troops

Local Girl Scouts are looking for ways to keep the Girl Scout cookie program from crumbling.

When the VFW Auxiliary closes its pull-tab operations later this week, the Girl Scouts might find themselves literally holding the cookie.

That’s because the VFW contributes $200 during 10 months of the year to help ship Girl Scout cookies to our troops overseas. That’s $2,000 a year, according to local troop leader DeNice Janssen.

Now Janssen and her scouts are looking for local organizations to help make up the shortfall so troops overseas can continue to receive care packages containing those special Girl Scout treats.

Janssen started the program as an offshoot of Operation Minnesota Nice, a program started in Ramsey seven years ago by Denise Jorgensen, Janssen said.

While helping send her son Ben packages while he was in the Army, one of his comments got Jorgensen thinking.

She had sent him a box full of goodies and was thrilled because he had enough that he could share with others who did not receive packages from home.

Jorgensen asked Ben to supply the names of soldiers that never received packages and recruited her family members to collect and pack items to ship to the soldiers.

Word of mouth brought in more volunteers from churches and coworkers. More volunteers and soldier names arrived and soon the group had outgrown Jorgensen’s Ramsey garage.

In April 2005, they moved to the Elk River Legion and the Anoka Legion and later to Zimmerman.

Janssen had been involved in the project in Zimmerman and thought she could successfully bring a similar program to Princeton through her Girl Scout troop.

“It’s been a big commitment and we are looking to continued support through our local organizations,” Janssen said.

Janssen said she realizes its unlikely that there is an organization in the community that is able to give the scouts the $2,000 a year support that the VFW Auxiliary did. So she has begun seeking smaller donations with a goal of finding an organization to “adopt” a month. That would be approximately a $200 donation.

One local organization has respectfully declined the request to take over part of the program. A handful of others are in the process of considering requests. This week Janssen has been making her way onto agendas of service organizations hoping she can find support for the scouts’ efforts.

The cookies are donated by Girl Scouts, their parents, individuals and businesses in our community and corporate sponsors.

Each box of cookies comes with a letter letting the soldiers know that their care package is being sent from Princeton, Minnesota.

“Every cookie has a mission,” Janssen said.

The next box of cookies on a mission could arrive to the troops with your help.

If you, your group or your organization has the ability to help the Girl Scouts with their mission, Janssen asks that you giver her or her Girl Scout daughters Samantha, Miranda or TaLeah a call at 763-234-8710. They can also be reached by e-mail at wdsmtjanssen@yahoo.com.

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