Girl Scouts, treats to swarm Downtown Pittsburgh for sale

Girl Scouts, treats will feed urban plan

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Downtown workers and shoppers hoping to satisfy their annual craving for Samoas, Thin Mints or Do-Si-Dos will be able to purchase those Girl Scout treats along with the rest of the cookie selection on Friday as scouts descend on the Central Business District.

The cookie sale, to be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lobbies of various Downtown office buildings and the Omni William Penn Hotel, kicks off National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend.

Girl Scouts USA estimates that cookie sales generate $800 million each year.

Locally, the Downtown sale will benefit Be a Friend First, which targets girls in urban areas who normally would not have access to membership in a traditional Girl Scout troop.

"We have an urban growth strategy in Pittsburgh to reach girls underserved by Girl Scout programs," said Kimberly Roberts, program director for Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania based on the North Side.

Girl Scouts USA launched BFF in 2012 as a curriculum that addresses issues faced by many girls in grades 6 to 8, such as forging strong friendships and bullying prevention.

The local organization adopted it and, with foundation support, has made it available in 27 counties in the western part of the state stretching from the Pittsburgh area to Erie. Funding sources include $40,000 from the FISA Foundation, $20,000 from the Grable Foundation and $15,000 from the Buncher Foundation, Ms. Roberts said.

The PPG Foundation provided $5,000 for Friday's event to pay for lunch for the girls; T-shirts; the cost of transporting the girls from school to Downtown; Girl Scout patches for participants; and signs to direct potential customers to the sale booths.

The program is based in schools so that the girls -- many from low-income families -- don't need to be members of a scout troop to participate, said Ms. Roberts. Projects they undertake through BFF can range from a poster campaign to stop bullying to arranging an event that will teach students to "interact in a more peaceful way."

Proceeds from cookie sales Friday will be used to help girls attend a summer program at Conshatawba Camp in Summerhill, Cambria County.

The cookies cost $4 per box. Cash and credit cards will be accepted. Specific sale sites are: Fifth Avenue Place; all buildings in Gateway Center; YWCA's corporate office at 305 Wood St.; Point Park University's Lawrence Hall at 201 Wood St.; City Centre Tower at 650 Smithfield St.; the street level retail area of Two PPG Place; and the Omni, 530 William Penn Place.

Joyce Gannon: or 412-263-1580.

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