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Point of view: Cookies make it all better

Just over 100 years ago, our nation was battling World War I, and citizens at that time also searched for ways to cope.

There’s an interesting historical connection between the nation’s need to support soldiers in 1917 and our desire today to help others in the wake of COVID.

It comes down to how the cookie crumbled in World War I, and how cookies will fare in today’s health crisis.

It all began here in Oklahoma. During that first war, Girl Scouts wanted to make money to buy gifts for the soldiers. They created a sweet plan to bake and sell sugar cookies as a fundraiser.

It wasn’t easy. The cookie recipe called for butter, sugar and flour — all commodities rationed during the war. Finding baking supplies was difficult, but these young women would not let anything get in their way.

Actually, it’s somewhat unclear exactly how they pulled it off, but one theory is the girls approached grandmas and moms and borrowed a little sugar, butter and flour here and there so they could bake and sell the first ever Girl Scout cookie.

Today, cookie sales teach young women goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics, all traits those early Girl Scouts pressed into service during World War I.

In a COVID environment, the annual cookie sale has its own set of challenges. Girl Scouts across the nation are striving to sell in new and safe ways to keep girls, parents and customers safe and healthy.

Girl Scouts are emailing customers about online orders that can be paid with a credit card. Digital cookie sales and booths on Facebook can provide a sales pitch. Parents and troops can share information on their social media pages.

Cookie sales can be expanded while learning about the food delivery market using Grubhub. The traditional cookie booth is available in some locations, and Girl Scout Council websites offer a “Cookie Finder” app so customers can enter a zip code and find out where to purchase.

There are some live sales, as well, but they are limited in locations and follow pandemic precautions. At some, girls are required to wear gloves so the cookie box is not touched before the customer picks it up.

In some places, you can donate purchases to area food banks, to soldiers around the globe or to COVID health care workers.

Proceeds from cookie sales stay with the local Girl Scout Council to fund projects, much like the World War I cookie sale did.

Check out cookie options for Girl Scouts in Western Oklahoma at or at to get cookies in communities in the Eastern part of the state.

When challenged, Girl Scouts adapt and reach goals — even when the rules change. Social distancing is no match for an organization founded on the premise of interaction, providing support for each other and making a difference in the world.

Pandemic got you down? Eat a cookie — a Girl Scout cookie — and don’t sweat it.

Andrea Chancellor is a lifelong Girl Scout and once served on the Board of Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma. She is a retired corporate public relations director.