Article excerpts reposted with permission from The Oswego Palladium-Times newspaper. Author and photographer, Greg Castor.

Cheddar Up partners with Girl Scout Councils across the country to help troops collect online payments and forms. During the pandemic, we’ve been astounded by troop innovations and none so much as the Oswego Girl Scouts “Cookie Hub” that allows neighbors to purchase cookies online and have cookies delivered to their door by the Daisy and Senior troops. This contactless delivery system has delighted their community and has, to date, topped last year’s in-person sales!

Greg Castor with the Oswego Palladium-Times newspaper caught up with Kim MacLean-Westcott, leader of Oswego-based Daisy and Senior Girl Scout Troops in the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Council, to learn more about their successful sales program. Keep reading to learn more and to see their Cheddar Up page in action.

OSWEGO — The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many businesses throughout the country, forcing them to quickly adapt to new ways that consumers shop. The local Girl Scout troops have been doing just that.

Kim MacLean-Westcott, Daisy and Senior Girl Scout troop leader, told The Palladium-Times that the Girl Scouts are doing better than anticipated this year with help from a new sales method for their annual cookie campaign.

“We had to figure out a way to get the cookies out there to people and meet the demand, so we set up CookieHub,” MacLean-Westcott said.

CookieHub allows people to purchase cookies online and have cookies delivered to their door by the Daisy and Senior troops. However, they only operate this service within the borders of the Oswego City School District (OCSD).

The troops have received orders for nearly 10,500 boxes compared to just about 10,000 boxes from their initial order last year.

She said since the Dec. 18 launching of this year’s drive, utilizing CookieHub, the troops have received orders for nearly 10,500 boxes compared to just about 10,000 boxes from their initial order last year.

“We are doing well this year, all things considered,” MacLean-Westcott said. “We have some very motivated sellers in the troop, and they worked very hard.” 

In a typical season, the Scouts set up booths at local businesses throughout the community to get the word out and sell cookies. This year, because of the pandemic, they couldn’t set up their stalls to get the word out. Instead, they’ve been working by word of mouth and “guerilla advertising.”

Guerilla advertising involves getting the word out through social media, door hangers, advertising on cars, and other alternative means.

“Normally, the girls take order cards with them to school, adults take them to work, but this year a lot of families don’t have that option,” MacLean-Westcott said.

She said she got the idea for CookieHub after watching troops in the Syracuse area utilize GrubHub to deliver cookies. She explained that because of Oswego’s smaller size, GrubHub wouldn’t operate with the troops in this area.

Currently, the troops only deliver within the OCSD because that is their primary area of operation. She added that she doesn’t want to infringe on other local troops’ jurisdictions and take away from their sales.

“Normally, the girls take order cards with them to school, adults take them to work, but this year a lot of families don’t have that option.”

MacLean-Westcott said she plans to develop ways to work with the other troops in the area and expand their outreach in the future. Right now, however, she wants to focus on their own area and will re-evaluate the increased service area if the need arises.

“We stuck to the Oswego City School District because we feel confident we can serve this area well,” she said.

Last year, the troops sold a total of 23,441 boxes. This year’s goal was to sell 12,000 boxes, but their success thus far has them hoping they can approach last year’s total.

“Our community is amazing, and I can’t believe we can put through this many cookies to the community,” MacLean-Westcott said, adding that the money raised from the cookie campaign goes back to the community for Girl Scout projects.

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We hope this inspires you and your group to make a difference in your community. Whatever your group needs to collect for, Cheddar Up is here for you.