A pair of Port Alberni businesses have partnered with local Girl Guides to sell cookies during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Girl Guides of Canada decided to cancel door-to-door cookie sales last month, not wanting to make kids and leaders susceptible to the virus. This left local Girl Guides with dozens of cases of the popular chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies that had already been pre-ordered for their fundraising campaign.
“Girl Guides nationally was planning to connect with stores and set something up, but our community stores contacted us first,” explained Alyson Schmitz, the commissioner for Port Alberni Girl Guides. “Canadian Tire offered to buy 50 cases, and then No Frills reached out the next day and offered to buy whatever we had left.”
The cookies are sold each year to fundraise for activities like sleepovers, camps and kayaking, said Schmitz. Some of the cookies are also from a patrol of eight girls from Guides and Pathfinders, who were fundraising to go to a province wide camp called Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous (SOAR) in July. The camp has been cancelled due to COVID-19, but the girls still had cookies to sell.
Erin Weaver, the owner of Port Alberni’s Canadian Tire, said she reached out to the Girl Guides because her daughter is a local Guide.
“I reached out to her unit and said I’d be willing to sell some boxes at our store,” Weaver explained. “Canadian Tire has partnered with some other Girl Guide groups nationally, so it works out well.”
The boxes are available at the checkout counter, so “they’ve been selling very well,” said Weaver.
Tyler Steel, the owner of Tyler’s No Frills, said he had reached out to someone he knew who was selling the cookies on Facebook.
“Obviously, I sell groceries already,” he said. “I thought if I could do anything to help them out, I would. I get a lot of support from the community, and I wanted to support them in the same sort of way. I want to do my part and help everyone out in town.”
No Frills took approximately 55 cases, with 12 boxes of cookies in each case. The store has already sold “quite a bit,” said Steel, although there were still some boxes left as of Wednesday, April 1.
“They seem to be going through four or five cases a day,” he explained.
Cookies are also available at Quality Foods and Save-On-Foods. Quality Foods owners purchased several hundred cases of cookies from Parksville and Qualicum Beach units and have distributed them to all their stores, while Save-On-Foods made a deal with Girl Guides of Canada to buy almost 18,000 cases of cookies (210,000 boxes) and distribute them to 175 stores across Western Canada.
Because of COVID-19, Girl Guides is “pretty much done for the year,” said Schmitz.
“We’re not doing our regular meetings or any Girl Guides events,” she said. “Rally on the River, our large camp, got cancelled. It’s a safety precaution.”
The help from local businesses, she said, has given her one less thing to worry about.
“It was nice to have them offer to buy them,” she said. “I was really proud of our community.”