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They’re back, but not for long.

The Girl Scouts have started their annual cookie sale at most military bases in Europe. But if you crave a Caramel deLight or thirst for Thin Mints, you have only about three weeks to make your purchase.

More than 24,000 cases of cookies have arrived, or are arriving, for distribution to Girl Scout neighborhoods in Europe, said Vickie Shackett, director of office services for the Girl Scouts North Atlantic Region.

That adds up to more than 250,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

But don’t wait. Sales start when the cookies are received and run about three weeks, Shackett said, or until they’re all gone.

Then European residents will again be suffering a shortage of Shortbread cookies until next year.

Most areas have already received and started selling cookies, which are $3 a box. Troops in the Italian neighborhoods of Vicenza, Rome and Camp Darby should be receiving theirs next week and starting sales soon after, Shackett said.

Girl Scouts are selling eight different types of cookies, including their best seller, Thin Mints. A new type of cookie, the Piñata, is also available.

According to the ABC/Interbake Foods company Web site, Piñatas have a crunchy oatmeal base that’s iced on the bottom, filled with strawberry fruit, then swizzled with a sugar glaze and cinnamon crumb topping. ABC/Interbake is one of two companies that make Girl Scout cookies.

Be prepared

There may not be Girl Scouts in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kosovo, but there will be Girl Scout cookies for some lucky servicemembers deployed there.

The Girl Scout troops in Naples, Italy, are collecting boxes of cookies to send to deployed servicemembers.

About 100 girls in the Naples neighborhood, which is the overseas equivalent of a Girl Scout council, are selling cookies for their annual fund-raiser at all major Naples-area bases until Feb. 9.

Those buying cookies for themselves can also purchase them for the troops through the “Treats to Troops” program. Those boxes will be set aside and mailed when the sale is over.

The program started last year when a detachment of Naples sailors deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Neighborhood treasurer Emilie Webber came up with the idea of sending cookies to deployed sailors. Boxes went to Kuwait and sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower.

This year, the neighborhood decided to collect and send cookies to servicemembers of all branches.

“It seems harder to get [cookies to] people in the trenches in the desert,” said the North Atlantic Region Overseas Committee’s Schonna Dungan.

Dungan said that’s because Naples is a Navy base where points of contact and addresses for units in the other services can be difficult to find. “We want to focus more on those forward deployed,” she said.

Those with names and addresses can contact Dungan at: schonnadungan@yahoo.com. Each unit must have a servicemember willing to accept the packages and then distribute the cookies to others in their unit.

Vickie Shackett, director of office services for the Girl Scouts North Atlantic Region, said that other European neighborhoods had discussed similar efforts to send cookies to deployed troops.

She recommended asking those selling the Girl Scout cookies if they are participating.

— Jason Chudy

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