Most people in Western Pennsylvania are still waiting to receive their boxes of Girl Scout cookies, but not inmates at SCI-Fayette.
The state prison received over 1,100 boxes of cookies this year during its third sale to benefit Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. Inmates had the opportunity to buy up to six boxes.
“Any special sale that we offer to the inmates boosts the overall morale … and gives them an opportunity to give back to the community,” said Maria Bivens, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
SCI-Rockview in Center County offered a similar sale this year, Bivens said.
Girl Scout cookies typically aren’t hard to come by. This year, however, the inmates enjoy a rare treat: early access to cookies hindered by supply chain issues.
On the way
Across the country, Girl Scout cookie deliveries have been delayed. Many customers who ordered cookies weeks ago are still waiting to receive their Thin Mints and Samoas.
The delay stems from production and transportation issues with Little Brownie Bakers, according to a statement from Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. Little Brownie Bakers provides all of the region’s Girl Scout cookies.
All remaining cookie orders should be in Scouts’ hands by next week, the district said Thursday.
Colleen Peary, who leads five troops in Connellsville, said her troops haven’t received a single box of cookies this season.
“It didn’t surprise me when they said they were delayed because of the world and what’s going on,” said Peary, who has been a troop leader for 37 years. “Maybe two years ago it would have shaken me up… but (supply chain issues) have been all around us.”
Local troops learned in early February that some deliveries would be delayed.
Jenna Trout, whose 6-year-old daughter is a Scout in Greensburg, said the bakery told the girls that labor shortages would affect the availability of Adventurefuls, the newest cookie. The rest of the cookies were expected in mid-to-late February.
Several weeks later, local troops were informed that other cookie deliveries would be delayed, with anticipated arrival the first week of March.
Then the first week of March came and went.
Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania said cookies now have arrived in warehouses and are scheduled for troop delivery through March 25.
“We ask for customers continued patience as Girl Scouts complete their deliveries,” the organization said in a statement.
Who has received cookies?
The region hasn’t been completely void of cookies this season.
Most people buy Girl Scout cookies one of two ways: Customers can order through a Scout, who typically delivers the cookies to the customer after she receives them, or they can buy cookies at a booth sale.
Trout said her daughter’s troop received a “limited supply” of cookies for a booth sale. None of the troop’s customer-ordered cookies have arrived.
However, on March 7, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania paused booth sales — except for those under lease agreement — until customer deliveries start.
“Once deliveries to local troops resume and girls can deliver their orders, we will reevaluate when booth sales can begin again,” the organization said.
Some of Trout’s daughter’s customers already received their cookies — but only those who paid at least $12.99 to have orders shipped to their homes.
Trout said one customer ordered cookies on March 4 and received them by March 10.
“People who ordered cookies and paid for them back in January still haven’t received them because they did the ‘girl delivery’ option,” Trout said. “As the days go on, more and more people keep asking me, ‘Where are my cookies?’ and it’s totally understandable.”
She hopes the delay doesn’t sour customers on future cookie sales.
“I’m just afraid that no one is going to want to buy them next year,” Trout said. “It is a really good fundraiser for the troop.”
Girl Scouts sell cookies to earn money for troop activities, trips and service projects. The cookie money means parents pay little to nothing for their daughters to participate in these events, Peary explained.
She is confident her troops will “push through.” The delay teaches the girls that unexpected occurrences don’t have to be “negative” or a “catastrophe.”
“(Girl Scouts is) not a stressful thing,” Peary said. “It’s one of the positive places in your life.”
Maddie Aiken is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Maddie by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .