It’s everyone’s favorite time of year: Girl Scout cookie time! We all love to support our local Girl Scout troops, and no one can resist the delicious cookies you can only get once a year. This year, before throwing down $4 for a box of cookies, consider donating to the troops instead.

Every weekend from February to mid-March, local Girl Scout troops can be found at grocery stores including Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, and Fareway. The girls and their leaders will sell cookies at these locations and all funds from these sales will go to support Girl Scout troops.

Anyone who doesn’t wish to purchase cookies but wants to support the Girl Scouts can make a cash donation. Cash donations still support troop activities, but for every $4 donated, the local Girl Scout troop will donate one box of cookies to Bags of Blessings. Bags of Blessings is organized by the Muscatine Food Pantry to give children from low-income families a paper bag of food to help feed them over the weekend. In this way, cash donations help the Girl Scouts distribute cookies to children in need.

This is the Muscatine area Girl Scouts’ third year with Bags of Blessings.

“After cookie sales are over, we donate well over 180 boxes of cookies,” says Mindy Stark. “This is a good thing for those kids because some of them may have never gotten to experience having a box of Girl Scout cookies,” she says.

Other things that Girl Scout cookie funds support are badges, group trips, and camps. These are all activities the troops would not be able to afford were it not for cookie profits.

To find out where cookie booths will be located each weekend, visit girlscoutstoday.org.