Girl Guide cookies donated to local seniors

Photo by Kerby Centre

Some folks might not think having 100 boxes of Girl Guide cookies lying around would be a problem requiring a solution — unless that solution involves a tall glass of milk.

But when local guide leader Laura Istead found herself with 16 cases — over 100 boxes worth — it was the result of unfortunate happenstance.

“We received the cookies before the shut down and were supposed to get them back to the main district office,” said Istead, who leads both a group of Brownie and Sparks Girl Guides.

However, one mix-up and some minor miscommunication and Istead was left with a heck of a lot of cookies. Since COVID-19 had shut down the normal method of selling to the public, the majority of Girl Guide cookies had been distributed to participating grocery stores to be sold on behalf of the organization.

So now what was Istead to do? The chance to get them back had passed, it was the end of the summer and those boxes were still lying around!

Istead did what many others do when faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem: she turned to the internet.

“I went on Facebook and said ‘Hey, cookies for sale! But if anyone wants to gift them to a senior in the Calgary community, I’ll include a homemade card’.”

The response was overwhelming; folks came in droves to not only help with Istead’s little cookie problem, but also to help donate those delicious sweets to older adults locally.

At the start of November, 100 handmade cards and over 100 boxes of cookies were given to the Kerby Centre for distribution.

“While we can’t meet [with older adults], we’re trying our best to bring the joy that we can,” Istead said. “We’re finding ways we can build connections with the community.”

Istead’s next project? She and her squads are making hundreds of crafts for several assisted living facilities in SE Calgary.

“Hopefully these kinds of projects, cookies, and cards, and beads, teach the young people values and that everyone in our community is important regardless of their age,” she said.

In addition to bringing a small bit of joy to older folks in the community, Istead said that it’s having a positive effect on the youth and their families who participate.

“I think for the littler [sic] kids, it’s tough,” she said. “They are feeling residual effects from the stress… they might be young, but the impact is not lost on them.”

With projects like the current crafts being created, Istead said it’s something for the youth and their families to work on together, giving kids something to focus on and work towards even as other recreational activities are being canceled.

“We try to remind that there’s a lot of people out there, there are lots of things we can do, they don’t have to be big or fancy, and that planting the seeds are still worth it.”