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Girl Scouts pack cookies for military overseas

April 24, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Some American military personnel serving overseas will be feasting on Girl Scout cookies in about two weeks, thanks to the efforts of several local Girl Scout troops and American Legion members.

By raising $5,628 in donations from the community, the Scouts are able to send 1,608 boxes of cookies to those serving in the Middle East.

On Saturday, with the help of six American Legion members, they prepared the cookies for shipping. The Scouts packed the cookies, which sell for $3.50 per box, into 28 shipping cases. With each box, they packed a note or drawing from a Girl Scout or elementary-school student.

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Each case was addressed to a specific service person, at the request of his or her friends or family. In each case was a letter from Suzanne Crider, leader of Brownie Troop 949, telling the soldier who requested that cookies be sent to him or her.

Elise Crider, 7, a first-year Brownie, was the top supporter of Soldier Cookies, soliciting enough donations to buy 133 boxes of cookies. Elise said she is helping to send cookies to soldiers because "it will remind them of home. My dad has a friend named Billy who just went over (to the war zone) a few weeks ago."

Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes and Seniors from 28 area Girl Scout troops helped with the huge job.

Burt J. Asper American Legion Post 46, which paid to ship the cookies overseas, also provided the place to do the work.

Bill Vandrew of Marion, Pa., post commander and Vietnam War veteran, said he and fellow post members assisted with the project because part of the American Legion's program is "to promote young people and to be supportive of our veterans and fighting men and women."

"The young ladies approached us last year and asked us to help on this project," Vandrew said. "We were very happy to because this project shows that young people have patriotism and are very concerned about our men and women (overseas)."

Vandrew added that he knows very well from his time in Vietnam that "when a package comes from home, it's overwhelming."

Vandrew said he will ship the cases by priority mail, and they will arrive in the Middle East in 10 to 14 days.

The Girl Scouts sent 732 boxes of cookies overseas last year, the first year for the project.

Several local businesses supported Soldier Cookies, Suzanne Crider said.

R&D Contractors donated 120 boxes of cookies and Plasterer's Florists donated 36 boxes.

Junior Girl Scouts Katie Shaak, 11, and Randi Shultz, 10, both of Troop 614 of Fayetteville, Pa., said that packing the cookies was fun.

"It will remind (the military personnel) of home and that people care about them," Katie said. "Last year, we heard from five of them, and they said they appreciated us sending cookies over."

"We drew some pictures for them," Randi added.

Cadette Lauren Shaak, 13, of Troop 1250 in Fayetteville, helped with the packing last year. She turned out again this year "because Girl Scout cookies are only here for a short amount of time, and we have to send them while they're here."

She wants the soldiers to "feel like they're not left out and that we're still thinking of them."

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