Knoxville, Tenn. — Stacked to the ceiling of a West Knoxville warehouse, hundreds of palettes of Girl Scout Cookies were ready to be sorted and distributed to Girl Scout Troops throughout the region on Monday.
“We’ve been looking forward to the arrival of these cookies for months now,” says Booth Kammann, CEO of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians. “The Girl Scout Cookie Program accounts for more than half of our operating budget, so this is a critical step.”
Associate Professor of Logistics at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Mary Holcomb, Ph.D. visited the warehouse to observe the process, as volunteers began to sort and distribute hundreds of thousands of boxes of cookies.
“It’s phenomenal how much product they run through the warehouse in such a short amount of time,” says Dr. Holcomb. “There was clearly an enormous amount of planning leading up to today.” Kammann estimates that on Monday alone 12,000 cases, which equates to 144,000 boxes, will be distributed to the greater Knoxville area, with even more cases scheduled to be distributed the following day.
Dr. Holcomb points to the Girl Scouts color-coded system as a key component of the program’s success. “It’s visually-driven, making the process of sorting the cookies very accurate and highly efficient.”
As the cars, vans and SUVs, lined up outside the warehouse, staff and volunteers worked side by side. “We know we have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time, but we’re happy to do it,” says Kammann. The Girl Scout Troops in the Southern Appalachians Council benefit directly from the cookie sales; proceeds range from $0.55 per box to $0.75 per box, estimates Kammann. Girls set goals and determine how these proceeds are used, including support of troop activities and community service projects.
Similar distribution centers are bustling with activity in Chattanooga and the Tri-Cities this week. Between all locations, volunteers will distribute more than 1 million boxes of cookies this week.
In 2010, the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians sold more than 1.6 million boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. A total of 9,235 Girl Scouts participated last year, but Kammann says the process would not be possible without adult volunteers. “This is a logistical feat and we greatly appreciate our volunteers who make it happen.” Dr. Holcomb agrees, “The concerted effort of these well-trained volunteers is extremely valuable to the process.”
While Girl Scouts are beginning to fill pre-orders this week, booth sales of Girl Scout Cookies begin on Saturday, February 25. For a list of booth locations in our region, you can visit the council’s website at www.girlscoutcsa.org.
The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians has 21,000 girl and adult members stretching from North Georgia to Southwest Virginia. Service centers are located in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Johnson City. Our mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The council offers financial assistance to ensure that every girl who wants to be a Girl Scout has the opportunity to join this vibrant organization.