ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) The Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council is facing a serious shortage of money.
Local Girl Scout troops were not able to sell all their cookies this year. The council ordered 66,000 cases initially and expected to order an additional 9,000 cases midway through the season for a total of 75,000 cases. The Girl Scouts budgeted to make money on those 75,000 cases but sales were slow and the council never placed the additional order.
To make things worse, there are still 1,700 cases remaining that need to go as soon as possible. When the sale officially ended there were about 3,000 cases left. So despite already selling almost half the surplus, the boxes are still overflowing at the Council's offices in Roanoke and are tucked in every corner. The council said it can not remember a time where this has ever happened.
That in addition to declining membership numbers for both girls and adult volunteers means the council is $250,000 short. Their budget is only $3 million so this shortage would really make a big impact.
"I love my job, I love Girl Scouts, it's really a great place for the girls to be and it's a good place for adults to give back to their community," Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council CEO Jean Ann Hughes said. "It's so much about community service and we want to continue to offer that to the girls and in order to do that we need funding."
To help balance the budget, all council employees will be furloughed for two weeks in 2017. The council is also selling the remaining cases of cookies at half price - that's just $2 a box. At half price the council will make back its investment on the cookies, but will not earn any additional money to put back to scouting -- even if all boxes sell will not make up the $250,000 loss. Hughes said other councils in the region were experiencing the same issues but not at the same magnitude.
"Every percentage (we're short on cookies) usually equals about $25,000 coming into the council so when we're down the 3% or 4% that's $100,000," Hughes said. "But when we're down 12$ that's a quarter of a million dollars."
Bad weather, fewer girl scouts and technological hurdles hurt this year's sale.
"On the weekends when it was snowing and icing little girls don't need to be outside in that weather," Hughes said."And then I think there was probably some software issues, the leaders download everything onto a software system and we had some glitches."
Thin Mints and Caramel deLites are sold out, but there are still all the other varieties. You can purchase cookies by contacting the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council at 540-777-5100. The council is also encouraging people to consider buying cases of cookies for local food banks or charities. You can also purchase cookies designated specifically to be sent overseas to military members -- the Girl Scouts ship the boxes to military members, you just pay the cost of the box.
"When the cookie sale doesn't work, you have to punt and figure out how you're going to make the budget work," Hughes said ."Because it's so important to me to serve the girls with the Girl Scout program and in order to do that we need money."