Monday, January 26, 2015

Cookies for a Cause

The Ruggieri family: Emily, Suzanne, John and Gabriel.

For thousands of Girl Scouts in western Pennsylvania, the first phase of the Cookie Program—initial order taking—is coming to a close. While they’re tallying their customers’ orders and gearing up for booth sales in February, they’re also helping the causes they believe in most.

Girl Scouting is girl-led, so troops and individually registered Girl Scouts can choose who receives the donated cookies they collect during the Cookie Program. Girls select the cause that’s important to them, and explain to their customers who benefits from the donation.

Girls learn many skills from the Cookie Program, including money management, people skills, business ethics, goal setting and decision making. Asking for donations adds to these skills and continues the girls' dedication to service through Girl Scouting. The pledge to “help others at all times” is an important part of the Girl Scout Promise, even while girls are selling Thin Mints.

Giving Big

Girl Scout troop 26683 from Greensburg is on a mission to donate thousands of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC (CHP). The Brownie troop chose CHP to honor the memory of Ethan Milliron, who is the late father of troop member Emily Ruggieri. Ethan received care at CHP while battling bone cancer. He died when Emily was only 18 months old.

The troop’s goal is to collect donations for 5,000 boxes of cookies from all 50 states to give to patients and families at the hospital.

Emily and her parents, Suzanne Milliron Ruggieri and John Ruggieri—and even little brother Gabriel— update a map every day with the location of orders from the U.S. and 21 countries around the world. North Dakota is the only U.S. state not represented in the more than 2,100 boxes donated to date.

It’s not too late to donate cookies to help Emily and her troop spread a little cheer to kids and their families at CHP. Email for information on how to donate.

The troop's kindness toward patients at CHP doesn't stop at cookies. The girls make fleece blankets to donate as well.

Service for Life

This experience will not only benefit patients at CHP, but the Girl Scouts as well, as they gain confidence and the tools to help them become the citizens who will make a difference in the world.

Research shows that the experiences girls have helping others through Girl Scouts makes them more likely to be philanthropists as adults.

According to a study by the Girl Scout Research Institute, women who were once Girl Scouts are more likely than non-alumnae to volunteer, donate money, goods or services, or to contribute to charities on a regular basis.