Girl Scouts using virtual booths to sell cookies amid the pandemic

Girl Scouts in Central Florida are getting ready for their biggest fundraiser of the year, but they are having to come up with new strategies because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The cookie season starts Jan. 24 in Central Florida and Girl Scouts are having to think outside the box to sell cookies this year.

"This year is, for sure, a different ballgame," said Ambassador Girl Scout Marie Young.

The 16-year-old said she has been selling cookies for a decade and this will be the first time she will not do door-to-door selling or setting up a physical booth outside a store.

"I’ll probably do some Zoom cookie booths," Young said, "I’ve created Marie’s Virtual Cookie Booth; this private, Facebook group that I can invite my friends and family."

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Cadet Girl Scout Bella Kennedy plans on doing a drive-through cookie booth. She also plans on doing a pop-up cookie booth. Kennedy said she will be using a contact-less payment system and has lots of cleaning and sanitizing supplies on hand.

"We have hand sanitizer, so that way we can stay safe and face shields and masks."

Maryann Barry, CEO of Girl Scouts of Citrus Council, said several Girl Scouts are also planning to sell cookies by doing virtual cookie booths using Facebook Live. She said the organization did not want girls to lose the invaluable learning experience that comes with the cookie season so they adapted to make it possible.

"It’s an entirely new learning experience for the girls… [learning a new business skill],"Barry said. "I think of this cookie program [that] our girls and our families that are participating in as a beacon of normalcy. A beacon of hope that things are going to go back."

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The Girl Scouts are creating online stores for each Girl Scout. People will be able to access the stores using a link the Girl Scout will give out via email or social media. They can also access it using a unique QR code printed on individual door hangers that girls can leave on people’s front doors.

Girl Scouts is also partnering with GrubHub so cookies can be delivered to your house.

Young said, "Now that we know how to do this virtually even when COVID isn’t in our way, I feel like we can keep selling this way."