Brownies spread joy with cookie shipments to Middle East troops
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Brownie Troop 404 has been getting lots of feedback about the Girl Scout cookies they’ve delivered recently, but these aren’t the typical thank yous: They are e-mails describing the smiles the tastes of home are bringing to troops deployed to the Middle East.
When the local Girl Scout cookie campaign kicked off islandwide in early January, the 700-plus girls put out boxes where buyers could donate boxes of cookies or money to purchase cookies to be sent downrange. More than 1,000 boxes for those deployed were collected during the drive — more than 150 of those by the 15 girls in Brownie Troop 404, according to Paula Blivin, the “cookie mom” for the troop.
Blivin said the troop asked around to see if anyone knew of deployed servicemembers, either from Okinawa units or friends and family members, and came up with 16 recipients. Each received between 10 and 18 boxes of cookies — one or two boxes of each kind, Blivin said. Included with the cookies was a letter from the troop, along with a group photo, and an e-mail address in case recipients wanted to respond.
“A lot of the people had no connection to us and had no idea the cookies were coming … and that’s the neat thing about it,” Blivin said.
One recipient, Marine Lt. Col. Stephen Wilson in Baghdad, e-mailed Blivin to say: “I must say I had to smile when I saw the contents of the package you sent. The words ‘Girl Scout cookies’ spread rapidly throughout our section and they have been enjoyed by many.”
Wilson added that he was planning to deliver cookies to troops the next time he went to Fallujah. He followed through, later sending Blivin a photo of a Marine standing behind a machine gun holding a box of Thin Mints.
Another reply came from Army 1st Lt. John Collins, a helicopter pilot in Iraq.
“Thank you so much for all the cookies,” he wrote. “I shared them amongst my soldiers and they loved them!” He ended his e-mail with: “P.S. I shared everything but the Peanut Butter Patties. They’re my favorite!”
Brownie Paige Blivin, 7, said it was a lot of fun to send the cookies to the troops, adding it made her feel good.
Her mother said teaching the girls about lending a hand is a nice side note to the cookie sales.
“It’s important for them to understand about taking care of your community and giving back,” Paula Blivin said. “This helps them to understand that there are people away from home for a long time, and it’s just nice to do something nice. This is such a nice way for us to take care of our own.”