By By MC1 (AW/SW) Gina K Danals, Fleet Week New York Public Affairs
NEW YORK (NNS) -- More than 50 Girl Scouts and troop leaders from the Heart of Hudson Council delivered Girl Scout Cookies to Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen aboard USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spencer (WMEC 905) as a part of Operation Cookie Drop during Fleet Week New York, May 23.
Operation Cookie Drop is a way the organization, and its supporters, thank military members for all of their hard work. Nearly 90,000 boxes of cookies have been donated this year.
Troop leader Alison Bergman said that being able to deliver cookies in person makes the experience far more rewarding to the Scouts.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for the girls to show their support for our troops," she said. "This is how the girls say thank you for protecting us."
The program started in 2002 with around 100 donations and has since grown into a much anticipated event.
"We hear stories from Sailors who say getting a box of cookies is something that helps make their day better," said troop leader Donna Hannan. "It's amazing that what started as just a small idea has grown into a wonderful project."
After delivering the cookies, the Scouts received a special tour on both San Antonio and Spencer. Their visit was extra special because they were also able to view a planned Coast Guard search and rescue team demonstration from the forecastle.
"Most of us don't live in a military area, so we don't get to see men and woman in uniform very often," Bergman explained. "Being here and seeing this demonstration is a wonderful way for the project to come full circle."
Although the Scouts and leaders were eager to tour the ships, the service members were equally thrilled to spend time with the troops.
"It means everything to have these young girls' support," said Coast Guard Ens. Lauren Young. "It's wonderful to feel the appreciation from them and to be able to share with them what we do."
Julia, a junior in high school who has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and involved in Operation Cookie Drop since 2012, said just to come out and see everyone smiling when they receive their cookies gives her a wonderful feeling.
"It's an amazing experience to come on board the ship and see where the service members live, sleep and eat," she said. "It's even more rewarding to see how happy they are when they get all the cookies we bring them ... you can never have enough Girl Scout cookies."