Local Girl Scouts struggling to raise money through cookie sales because of the COVID-19 pandemic received a boost of support recently from the Washington State University football coach.

Heather Brackett and Alisha Merriman, two service managers with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, said Girl Scout meetings have been canceled, cookie sales were postponed and other food sales were eliminated since the pandemic began in March.

All of these changes have made it harder for the troops to maintain a feeling of community that it normally has, Brackett said. There are approximately 75 scouts that make up the six Girl Scout troops in Whitman County, Brackett said.

To spread the word about cookie sales, Merriman decided to reach out to WSU football coach Nick Rolovich to see if he could help the cause.

The response was more than they expected.

Rolovich bought 23 cases of cookies and sent out a message on Twitter urging people to support the Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

Other prominent people and businesses in the community also purchased cases, including WSU President Kirk Schulz, Neill Public Library Director Joanna Bailey and Paradise Creek Brewery. Each case contains 12 boxes of cookies.

The 123 cases the Pullman Service Unit had in stock quickly disappeared last week.

“It has been beyond our belief,” Merriman said of the support.

Going forward, Brackett said, they are looking for new ideas to make this year a memorable experience for the troops despite the challenging circumstances.

For now, they are grateful to the community for making last week a memorable experience.

“It’s been a really great way to connect with the community in an unexpected way,” Brackett said.

This year as a whole, Brackett said Girl Scouts in Whitman County have seen their cookie sales cut in half. That is attributed to the pandemic and the college students leaving the Palouse early in the spring, she said. The cases of cookies were purchased in February and the sales were postponed because the Stay At Home orders were enacted.

Brackett said the money from these sales support “girl experiences” including an annual summer camp in Coeur d’Alene. It also funds administrative support for the troops in Whitman County. Merriman said some of that money is given to scouts as a reward for their accomplishments.

In response to the pandemic, cookie sales have moved online and customers can choose to have cookies shipped to them or have the Girl Scouts drop them off through contactless delivery.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

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