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Perky Long, the Awahila cookie coordinator in charge of the Brainerd, East Brainerd, Apison and Tyner areas, counts boxes after United Van Lines employees finished unloading 3300 cases of Girl Scout cookies from a tractor-trailer at the East Brainerd fire hall early Monday afternoon. Girl Scout council staff and troop leaders began picking up cookies to distribute to the girls late Monday afternoon.

Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Samoas, Trefoils, Savannah Smiles, Thin Mints and other delectables filled the East Brainerd fire hall Monday, ready to be picked up and delivered.

Girl Scout troop leaders and volunteers met to distribute nearly 40,000 boxes of cookies, stacked up between the hall's firetrucks, to area Girl Scout troops.

The proceeds from cookie sales go directly to the troops.

"The girls get to decide what they want to do with the profits," said Perky Long, the Awahila Area cookie coordinator.

The troops use them to fund their annual activities, from hikes to museum visits.

"My girls even use some of the money to buy uniforms and pay for registration," said Mary Hess, Awahila Area service unit manager.

Monday's massive delivery is an exciting time for Girl Scouts, Booth Kamman, CEO of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians, said in a news release.

"This is when our girls can physically see the results of their selling efforts," Kamman said.

The cookie sales effort, Long said, is about more than paying for activities or fulfilling a sweet tooth. The sales campaign builds skills for life.

"We hope it develops leadership and budgeting, teamwork and finance, and even how to walk away with a smile after hearing 'no,'" said Long. "We're making the business women of the future."

Troops also will be selling the cookies at booths in local businesses from March 1-24.

The Awahila Area Girl Scouts has 21 troops from East Brainerd, Ooltewah, Apison, Collegedale and Tyner.