The Girl Scouts posted on Twitter in December of 2018 that “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you several cases of Girl Scout cookies - and that’s kind of the same thing,” and you know what? They are absolutely right.
This year, the American Legion Family of Post 105 in Belleville, New Jersey, which is made up of The American Legion’s veterans, the Sons of the American Legion (SAL), and the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA), donated 250 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to our troops abroad and to our veterans in VA facilities at home. What started with a $96 donation of cookies from the SAL in 2019 has exploded into a collective $1,500 donation from the entire Legion Family of Belleville this year.
It’s about “Making our vets’ day a little sweeter,” as the “Cookie for Vets” program run by the state-level SAL says.
Through donations to Girl Scout Troop 20122 of Nutley and the Daisies of Troop 81250, the Legion Family will be sending $850 of cookies to the servicemen around the world through the “donate cookies” option on the all-too-familiar cookie sheets, plus an additional $650 to give to our veterans who are short or long-term residents of the VA facilities at Lyons and East Orange.
The Girl Scouts say that “Every package is filled with leadership and life lessons,” and in this case, that lesson is to say thanks to those who serve and have served this country in uniform. Last year, Troop 20122 scout, Brinley Sullivan, summed up the importance of giving cookies to our heroes last year by saying that “delivering cookies made me feel like I was giving back… A token of thanks.”
The servicemen around the world receive their cookies by a partnership between the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey (GSHNJ) and Operation Jersey Cares, where they distribute what the GSHNJ calls “our collected Gifts of Caring.” All donations of cookies will go to U.S. military troops and veterans, with the cookies being included in care packages sent abroad. SPC John Shackelford of the 325th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) via the Operation Jersey Cares website said, “Your care packages seem to come at the right time when soldiers are in need. We are so grateful that we [are] not forgotten.” And the US Navy isn’t left out either. Deliveries have made their way to ships like the USS Iwo Jima in the past.
A portion of the donation also goes to the state-level SAL Detachment of NJ Children and Youth program, “Cookies for Vets,” where the cookies are bought through the Girls Scouts, and delivered to the two NJ VA hospitals by the scouts themselves along with young Sons. Last year, in its second year, $2,200 of cookies made their way to our veterans seeking medical treatment at the two federal campuses in Lyons and East Orange. The drop-off is scheduled for April, which is American Legion Children and Youth month.
Girl Scouts Abigail and Grace Myers of Nutley went to Post 105 to sell cookies as well, where many of the folks there donated even more boxes to send overseas. The hope is that each bite of a Somoa or a Thin Mint cookie reminds these servicemen and veterans of how much the American Legion Family and Girl Scouts appreciate their service and sacrifice.