While cookie aficionados across the country are trying to decide between Thin Mints and Samoas, local Girl Scouts are trying to make sure that deployed troops get a taste of home.
The Girl Scouts' Cookies for the Troops program, which allows cookie customers to purchase Girl Scout cookies to be shipped to military units deployed overseas, began in 2002. Since then, the Girl Scouts Hornets' Nest Council has shipped more than 200,000 boxes of cookies to thousands of troops.
The Hornets' Nest Council, a United Way Agency, serves more than 15,000 Girl Scouts in Cabarrus, Anson, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Rowan, Union and York, S.C. counties.
Dianne Southern, leader of Troop 790 in Cabarrus County, said local cookie-buyers have been receptive to the program.
"They really like the idea, especially since so many people have friends and relatives serving overseas," she said.
And the troops like it, too. The Council has received several photos of smiling troops holding their boxes of cookies with a desert backdrop.
The Council received a Special Achievement Award from the Carolinas Freedom Foundation for their efforts.
Troop 790 sold more than 5,000 boxes of cookies last year, and about 400 went to the troops. The troop has sold about 150 boxes so far this year, Southern said.
Other community organizations are also getting involved. The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas agreed to donate one box of cookies for the Cookies for the Troops program for every pint of blood collected during several recent blood drives. Another drive will be held 2-5 p.m. Sunday at Ebenezer Lutheran Church on Old Beatty Ford Road in China Grove.
Cookies will also be sold at booths set up at local businesses throughout the community through March 12.
Lawana Huff, leader of Troop 2087, stood nearby last week as 12-year-olds Katie England and Kaylee Arnold sold cookies outside of Lowe's Home Improvement on Concord Mills Boulevard. Taped to a tabled lined with cookies was a photo of a group of soldiers holding a banner thanking the Hornets' Nest Council.
Huff said her troop sent two cases of cookies to troops last year. She said she was concerned that many people wouldn't donate during tough economic times.
"But I think we we've had even more success this year," she said.
Huff recalled a woman who recently bought five boxes to ship overseas. She was a military wife who knew how much something as simple as a cookie would mean to the troops.
"It's a piece of home," Huff said.