by Katie Delp
My daughter is a Girl Scout. So when it came time for her troop’s annual cookie sale, she naturally assumed she would sell cookies to our neighbors. After all, the fact that South Atlanta has been a “food desert” may get all the attention, but the real travesty is that the neighborhood has been a “cookie desert” for far too long. But my daughter was up to the task.
She and her other Girl Scouts didn’t do any market research or look around the neighborhood and assume residents wouldn’t have disposable income available for cookies. Instead, they trekked door-to-door, making their sales pitch and recording orders. They also set up a table in front of Carver Market like they’d seen troops do at other grocery stores.
In the process, I learned something new: everyone loves Girl Scout cookies! I was amazed and amused at the girls’ success and ability of Girl Scout cookies to cross all boundaries of age, gender, race, and number of tattoos.
First of all, I have to give credit to the Girl Scouts for maintaining a long history of diversity. This commitment over the years means that so many people we encountered had fond, personal memories of their years as Girl Scouts or their daughters’ and nieces’ troop participation.
But I was also struck by how many people simply seemed excited to see these iconic cookies being sold locally in our neighborhood. People were engaged in so much more than an economic transaction, they were participating in community. One older man in a work truck pulled into the market parking lot, listened to the girls’ pitch, where they highlighted that for just $20 he could walk away with five boxes of cookies. He grinned and handed them a twenty. Then he told me he wasn’t that keen on cookies and planned to give away the sweet treats.
It was an eclectic line of customers who purchased cookies from my daughter and her troop. But it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. And the true story is that the girls cleaned up at Carver Market, selling significantly more boxes than the afternoon they spent at a busier store in a neighborhood with arguably more disposable income.
Sometimes we overthink ministry. Really intentional neighboring as about living your full life in your unique context. My daughter is a Girl Scout, and she was tasked with selling cookies. Naturally, she turned to her community, including those around her in her life. And mutual relationships with dignity are affirming for all. And even better when they involve Thin Mints and Samoas!