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Evergreen about to buy a half-million cookies

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

It’s the sweet season again in Evergreen, as sales of Girl Scout cookies are off and running.

The sale began Feb. 8 and will last until March 15, with Scouts stationed outside several Evergreen businesses beginning this weekend. By the time the sale is done, Evergreen’s 300 Girl Scouts will sell more than 30,000 boxes, which equates to roughly 500,000 cookies.

The Scouts will make about $120,000, of which more than half will remain with individual troops to help pay for activities. Plus, girls can win individual prizes based on the number of boxes they sell.

Before the sale starts, a cadre of volunteers ensures that cookies get into the Scouts’ hands. From start to finish, it takes about 10 hours to unload the cookies from a semi-truck, sort them and get the sweet treats ready for Evergreen’s 24 Girl Scout troops to pick them up.

With head cookie lady and Evergreen resident Cindy Toups at the helm, Evergreen’s organizational efforts are like a well-oiled machine. Toups, an eight-year veteran of the cookie mania, is flanked by a half-dozen women who spend a day counting and sorting the cases. Then troop leaders pick up their portion of the boxes.

On Saturday, semi-truck workers unloaded 2,028 cases — each containing 12 boxes — of Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Trefoils and a new variety called Rah-Rah Raisins into the Church of the Hills lobby. There were also a few cases of Toffee-Tastics, a gluten-free cookie that is being test-marketed in the Denver area. Thin Mints, by the way, are vegan.

“It’s like a tornado,” Toups said. “It goes from total chaos to total order. It’s such a good feeling when I’m vacuuming up after all the cookies are gone.”

This year the truck was late, which Toups says is not unusual, and there were only two workers to unload it rather than the four that were promised. The trucking company doesn’t allow volunteers to help unload.

“We’re not going to panic,” she announced to the other volunteers. “It’s not what we do.”

By the time the third troop came to pick up cookies, everything was in order and ready to go.

“It’s definitely a group effort, thanks to the wonderful volunteers,” Toups said. “It’s really fun.”

Nowadays, people can purchase cookies online, and there’s even an app for that, showing people where the closest cookie sale is happening.

The troops order 60 percent to 80 percent of the boxes of cookies they expect to sell for the first wave of sales. As the sale progresses, they will travel to what are called “cupboards” around Denver to pick up additional boxes, Toups said.

For the troops, the cookie sale is an important fund-raiser. Of the $4 per box, the troop gets $2.18. Troops use the money for field trips and special projects.

Jami Pool, the cookie mom for Troop 4186, which has 16 Bergen Valley fourth-graders, picked up 200 cases of cookies. She said this year the Scouts are hoping to raise enough money to buy tickets to see “Annie” at the Buell Theatre and to go out to dinner.

In past years, they’ve done a sleepover at Denver’s Downtown Aquarium and the Denver Zoo, and they’ve gone to the YMCA camp in Winter Park.

Pool said she’s no stranger to the cookie-selling process — when she was a Scout, her mom had Toups’ job, and their garage was filled with cookies once a year.

Jennifer Hayes, co-leader of Troop 3110, a troop of four fifth-graders at Bergen Valley, stopped by to pick up cookies. She said her daughter, Kamen Story, was trying to figure out how early she could knock on neighbors’ doors Sunday morning to begin selling.

Hayes said the cookie sales are an excellent way for girls to learn business skills.

The sale is not simply a fund-raiser, Toups said. It teaches the girls five skills: goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Cookie-organizing volunteer Denese Dhieux has been involved with Girl Scouts and cookies for nine years. She does it because Scouting has been good for her daughter, Devyn.

“I can’t believe I’m nine years in,” she said. “It’s Girl Scouts, and it’s been an awesome organization for Devyn. It’s hard work, but it’s fun. We work magically well together.”

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041. Check www.CanyonCourier.com for updates.