Treats for the Troops
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Treats for the Troops

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A Girl Scout troop from Ooltewah, TN shows their support for Friends of the Troops.

Girl Scout Cookies can mean different things to different people. For some, they are a welcome treat. To others, an irresistible temptation. To some of the recipients of Friends of the Troops care packages, Girl Scout Cookies are a sweet reminder of home.

Friends of the Troops is a non-profit based in Chattanooga that focuses on helping members of the United States Armed forces who, for any reason, slip through the cracks of other organizations. CEO and founder Jessica Duke felt inspired to start Friends of the Troops after realizing that soldiers and their families were often overlooked by other organizations she’d volunteered with. Despite others warning her what a challenge it would be to start a non-profit, Friends of the Troops began operations in 2019. In their short existence, the non-profit already has corporate partnerships, volunteers in 16 different states, and currently supports several hundred servicemen and women.

Starting in 2020, Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians is partnering with Friends of the Troops by supplying them with Girl Scout Fall Product and Cookies that will be included in the various care packages that they send out.

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Servicemen in South Korea show off their Girl Scout Cookies.

Friends of the Troops specifically tries to focus on all servicemen and women who do not have family support, either because they have no family, or their family can’t afford to send care packages themselves. For those on active duty overseas, Friends of the Troops sends care packages and cards. For those actively serving stateside, in addition to care packages and cards, they may also receive new baby support and help around the holidays. Sending care packages overseas is their biggest program right now; most of the Girl Scout Cookies will go overseas.

It’s not just active duty servicemen and women that Friends of the Troops serve; they also have special programs for Veterans. Their Veteran programs include cards, support for homeless veterans, and participation in the mail call programs of the Honor Flight Network and Honor Air. They also assist Veterans in need in the local communities with various projects, new baby support, and aid Veteran families in need around the Holidays.

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Friends of the Troops donated cookies to the Chattanooga VA Clinic.

Care packages help to boost morale and brighten the day of those serving. Jessica Duke says of Friends of the Troops, “What we are doing is really having a positive impact on the people. It does make their deployment better and reminds them that they have not been forgotten.” Jessica is very excited about the partnership with GSCSA. She points out that Fall Product items will be perfect to ship it’s too hot to ship other food items that might melt. She says that the cookies will be shipped out as soon as they receive them from our council.

The mission of Friends of the Troops is to honor, aid, and encourage servicemen and women. With help from Girl Scout Fall Product and Cookies, they can continue to do so.

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These Marines stationed in Japan received cookies.

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This airman in North Dakota is all smiles with her cookies!

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This large load of cookies went to two National Guard Armories in Tennessee.

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Some of these cookies traveled up to members of the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The remaining cases of cookies will go to active duty Air Force, Navy, and Marines.