Girl Scout cookie season is in full swing, and people are enjoying tasty snacks while helping girls learn life skills. Not everyone can hop online or visit a store to pick up a box of Thin Mints when a craving hits – like members of the military stationed overseas. A special program is making sure deployed service members aren’t missing out on these once-a-year goodies. Maura Warner, vice president of marketing and retail at Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois told Local 4 News about the program.

“Care to Share is a program that is a part of cookies. Girl Scouts are all about giving back and a few years ago we thought ‘why not collect donations of cookies for members of our military?’ A lot of people want to support that local Girl Scout in their life. They maybe don’t want the boxes of cookies around their house, so this is a great option where you can purchase cookies from a local Girl Scout. Every $5 donation represents a box of cookies that then we work with Iowa’s Bravest and Soldiers’ Angels to get to members of our military. They work really closely with members of our military and give them that taste of home. You know, a lot of soldiers abroad say that it’s just so nice to receive a Girl Scout cookie and it just reminds them of their life back home.”

The program has a lofty donation goal, but they need help reaching it this year. “This year, our donations for the Care to Share program are a little down,” said Warner. “Normally we like to collect about 26,000 packages of cookies – that’s a lot of cookies in our region – but usually we hit right around that number. Our goal this year is to collect 26,400 packages of cookies to then give to members of our military. Currently, we are sitting at 21,800. We keep making progress; over the weekend we brought in about 2,000 more donations, so we really appreciate everyone’s support and donating to that program. It not only helps the Girl Scouts in your community but also military members.”

Donating to the Care to Share program is easy. Donations are being collected by individual Scouts selling cookies and at cookie booths. “If you don’t know a Girl Scout troop, you can go online and we have a banner that’s all about cookies. You click on that and there is a map with troops nearby, so you’ll just click on any troop that’s nearby and you’re going to be supporting that local troop and members of our military.” The group is trying to collect all donations by March 26.

Warner says the Scouts get much more than just money from selling cookies. “Our Girl Scout cookie program is primarily an entrepreneurship program, so it teaches girls how to set a goal, work together as a team and really learn those business skills. It’s really impressive when a young girl who’s maybe in kindergarten is learning to count back change or maybe a girl who’s in third or fourth grade is trying to call up her customers from last year and make that connection again to tell them about the new cookie. It’s really an exciting program to see girls build their confidence and their skills.”

To purchase, click here and search for a troop in your desired zip code under ‘Find Cookies.’ Follow the prompts for Donate Cookies.