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Girl Scouts deliver sweet deal to military vets

Central Arkansas Girl Scouts made a special delivery to UA Little Rock’s military veteran students on May 1: 4,404 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

Girls from three troops in the Girl Scouts Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas Council delivered the goodies, and with the help of UA Little Rock military veterans, formed a cookie brigade to unload the treats from the Girl Scouts’ van and into the Military Student Success Center.

The veterans now have a plentiful supply of lemony Savannah Smiles, shortbread Trefoils, peanut buttery Do-si-dos and Tagalongs, Thin Mints and carmel-drizzled Samoas. The council ran out of S’mores and gluten-free cookies, but no one worried a lick.

“It’s nice to know that someone cares and wants to put effort into appreciation for military veterans,” said UA Little Rock student Josh Keyes, a U.S Army veterans and president of UA Little Rock’s Students Affected by the Military (SAM) organization.

The cookie delivery was part of the “Girl Scouts Give Back” program. Each year, the council budgets for about 20,000 boxes of cookies for charitable giving, said Dawn Prasifka, president and chief executive officer of Girl Scouts – Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

This year, the council focused on giving to veterans and planned other deliveries to a Pine Bluff food pantry, the U.S. Air Force 188th Wing in Fort Smith, and stops at the University of Arkansas, Arkansas State University, and Texas A&M in Texarkana.

Military veterans weren’t the only ones honored by the cookie delivery. The girls selected to deliver the cookies are among the council’s top cookie sellers.

Troop 6705 in Little Rock collectively sold more than 37,000 boxes of cookies this year, making them the top-selling troop in the council.

Karli Redd, 14, of Little Rock, an 8th grader at Mills Middle School, has been the highest cookie seller in the Chipato Valley Service Unit for eight years in a row. This year she sold 2,185 boxers for Troop 6097.

“It’s our way of giving back to our community,” she said of Wednesday’s delivery.

Troop 6846 in Searcy sold more than 10,000 boxes this year, and several of the girls helped deliver treats, including Emma and Isabella Schmidt, 9; Gracie Cherry, 10; Peyton Murphy, 10; Kiley Cantrell, 10; Nadia Lagomarsino, 10; and Hollie Laws, 15.

UA Little Rock’s Office of Military Student Success serves 650 military students and family members, said Kathy Oliverio, director of Military Student Success.

The students will take some of the cookies home and share the others.

“We know people who are deployed, and we’ll make care packages and send them overseas,” Oliverio said. “It’s nice to be appreciated, and we believe in paying it forward.”

Photo top right: Kathy Oliverio, left, director of the UA Little Rock Military Student Success Center, helps military veterans and Girl Scouts unload Girl Scout cookies. The Girl Scouts Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas Council donated more than 4,000 boxes to military veterans served by UA Little Rock’s MilItary Student Success Center.

Photo above left: Girl Scouts and veterans stack cookies inside the Military Student Success Center. Photos by Benjamin Krain.