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Samoas for soldiers: Local Girl Scouts give back through Troop to Troop Fundraiser
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From left, Madilyn Dye, Sally Reynolds and Mary Eloise Tymchuk stand with Girls Scouts cookies that are being shipped to the USS Theodore Roosevelt in March. Photo courtesy Nita Baker.

Sometime this week, a shipment of Girl Scouts cookies will be making its way overseas.

Gainesville High School graduate and F-18 pilot Lt. Martin Sewell is stationed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the western Pacific. Sewell was deployed to the ship in January and will remain there for more than five months.

Sewell’s mother, Sally Reynolds, was trying to come up with an idea for a care package to send him when a friend suggested Girl Scouts cookies. Reynolds then contacted local Girl Scout Troop 10878 and bought two cases of cookies to send to her son and his shipmates.

“They’re fun and easy to send,” said Reynolds. “I think they’ll be a taste of home and will let him know that people are thinking of him.”

Reynolds’ purchase came at the same time as Troop 10878’s annual Troop to Troop Fundraiser, during which the group takes donations of cookies and later delivers them to soldiers and first responders. In the past, the cookies have been distributed to fire stations in the area.

This year, all donated cookies went into the cases that will be shipped to Sewell and his team. Baker said that after finding out that the cookies were going directly to someone with Gainesville roots, many people were more inclined to contribute to the fundraiser.

All told, the scouts collected six cases of cookies, with each case having 12 boxes, for the troops overseas.

This also allowed the girls to make a more personal connection to the cause.

“We’ve been doing this for six years now, but this is the first year we’ve actually known who exactly the cookies are going to,” said Troop Leader Nita Baker. “I think it’s good for the girls to see that people from our area are serving our country in all parts of the world.”

The troop ended up filling an additional four cases of donated cookies to send to Sewell and his unit. Most of the donations were made over the past few weekends at the group’s cookie booths outside of Kroger and Green’s Grocery. 

In addition, each of the girls created handwritten notes and letters to send along with the shipment.

“They took construction paper and supplies and actually made the cards, they weren’t bought,” said Baker. “They came up with their own ideas and each did something different.”

Many of the cards included hand-drawn pictures and well-wishes for the soldiers.

“Our hope and mission in the Girl Scouts is that our girls will be involved in the community and do community service, and this is a good way for them to put that into action,” Baker said.

Reynolds plans to ship the cases of cookies sometime this week.

“I’d like to thank the people who graciously donated and also to the Girl Scouts for doing this,” Reynolds said. “I think it will cheer him up and remind him of home.”

Girl Scout Troop 10878 is part of the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia and is made up of North Hall Middle School students.

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