On July 13, GSWPA donated nearly 1,000 packages of cookies to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank thanks to ingenuity from a local corporate leader. This initiative was led by Yvonne Cook, president of Highmark Foundation and vice president of community health and programs at Highmark Health, who challenged fellow corporate women leaders and the greater Pittsburgh community to donate remaining cookie inventory in support of the food bank and local Girl Scouts. Thank you, Pittsburgh community, for making a difference in your community and to the team at the food bank for their work!
Due to COVID-19, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania was forced to end our cookie season early, leaving some troops throughout our council with extra cookie inventory. Girl Scout troops use their annual cookie proceeds to fund their adventures throughout the year. From camping and badge activities to registration and uniform costs, the Girl Scout Cookie Program makes all of it possible while teaching life skills like money management and people skills.
Our annual Awards of Distinction luncheon in Pittsburgh that is usually held in May was postponed until Friday, October 16 and will now be a virtual event. As one of our signature corporate fundraising events, the luncheon builds critical support for Girl Scouting in the Pittsburgh area through our traditional, volunteer-led troops, as well as our grant-funded troops.
Yvonne Cook, President of Highmark Foundation and Vice President of Community Health and Programs at Highmark Health, was inspired to take action. Yvonne has been a longstanding Honorary Committee member for our council's signature fundraiser in Pittsburgh, the Awards of Distinction. She challenged fellow corporate female leaders on the committee, as well as funding partners and the broader community, to help pay for remaining cookie inventory to be donated to the local food bank as a sweet treat to families in need. Cookies were also given to St. Vincent Depaul Food for Families in Cambria County and distributed to families in need throughout Cambria and Somerset Counties. Also, cookies were added to care packages by the Best of the Batch Foundation. Proceeds from this special effort support our grant-funded Girl Scout troops.
GSWPA reaches nearly 400 girls in under-served communities across Allegheny, Cambria, Erie, and Washington Counties. This grant-funded model has helped to reach girls who wouldn't otherwise have access to our leadership development program, by bringing Girl Scouting right to their school, neighborhood recreation center, or housing community. Girls earn badges, participate in community take action projects, go on field trips, attend a summer camp experience, and participate in the annual financial literacy product programs, including the Girl Scout Cookie Program.