Saturday I went to Wal-Mart and got a warm, fuzzy feeling watching an excited contingent of Girl Scouts and their mothers setting up a tent to sell Girl Scout cookies.
They were all smiling, greeting passersby and customers, while selling S’mores, Samoas, Thin Mints, Shortbread/Trefoils, Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalong, my personal favorite Do-si-dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich, and more.
Where does the money made by the cookie sales go? According to the official Girl Scout cookie program, 100% of the net profits, or about 65-75 percent of the cost of each box, stays in Hazlehurst.
In 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the U.S., a troop in Muskogee, Okla., baked cookies at home under the guidance of their mothers and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.
A few years later, Girl Scouts across the U.S. were baking cookies at home using a standardize recipe and selling them door-to-door.
The tradition continued into the 1930s and, in 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York became the first Girl Scouts to raise money with commercially baked cookies.
During World War II, sugar, flour and butter shortages put a halt to the sales but, after the war, the sales increased and 29 bakers were licensed to bake the Girl Scout cookies.
It was in the 1950s that the cookie sales added new recipes. There were three varieties: Sandwich, Shortbread and Chocolate Mints, now known as Thin Mints.
As the variety of cookies grew, so did the sales and the number of licensed bakers expanded greatly, as did the variety of box designs.
In 2016, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies, Girl Scouts took the stage at the Academy Awards to sell cookies to Hollywood stars.
The money raised by Girl Scout cookie sales has been used in local communities to help shape the lives of young girls and prepare them for bright, productive futures.
Of course, all is not rosy. The introduction of the Internet into our world has given dark, sinister people a voice. In 2012, Fox News reprinted an opinion piece attacking the Girl Scouts for partnering with Planned Parenthood. What the Girl Scouts did was work with various YMCAs, a number of church communities and, yes, Planned Parenthood to bring information-based sex education programs to girls.
But conservative bloviators picked up on the opinion piece and sinisterly morphed it into the claim that proceeds from the sale of Girl Scout cookies go to fund Planned Parenthood.
The vile claim went viral during 2015 and 2016 leading some people to refuse to buy Girl Scout cookies. I can understand the thinking of opponents of Planned Parenthood and respect their views. But why drag the Girl Scouts into such a mess?
Apparently the falsehood is rearing its ugly head again as several people have said they recently saw the claim on Facebook.
The next time a Girl Scout knocks on your door to sell cookies, buy a box. The money they make will help the Girl Scouts in Jeff Davis County. And none of it will go to Planned Parenthood.