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Girl Scouts send treats to soldiers

LILBURN -- Girl Scouts from all over metro Atlanta gathered at Lilburn City Hall on Saturday to give deployed troops a taste from home.

More than 200 troops participated in the project, dubbed "A Taste from Home," which will send boxes of Girl Scout cookies decorated with inspirational notes, drawings and stickers to troops stationed in the Middle East. Roxanne Lau, the leader of one of the troops that organized the cookie collection, said she believed they would exceed this year's goal of sending 10,000 boxes of cookies.

The cookies were donated by members of the public who first purchased them, Lau said. In addition, some businesses matched the donations.

"The fact that the boxes are decorated adds something special," said Jennifer Heard, the leader of another troop that organized the collection. "It's a message of love."

The project began in 2008 when Lilburn-based Troop No. 1888 collected donations of Girl Scout cookies to send to troops overseas.

The troop encountered a costly problem when it came to shipping, but the 335th Signal Company at Fort Gillem offered a transportation solution. They offered to ship the cookies for free.

Ultimately, Troop Nos. 1888 and 14244, of central Forsyth County, collected donations from more than 50 troops. That year, more than 2,000 boxes of cookies were shipped to troops in Iraq.

In 2009, Troop Nos. 1888 and 14244 joined together again, and nearly 100 troops collected more than 6,000 boxes of cookies.

Shemika, a Girl Scout from Cartersville, decorated about 100 boxes of cookies Saturday. She said she drew smiley faces, stars and funny faces on the cookie boxes.

"It's fun to do," the second-grader said.

Alexandra, a Girl Scout from Lilburn, said she focused on making her decorations humorous.

"I kind of want to decorate it so they can get a laugh when they see it," the fourth-grader said.

Lilburn resident Hannah Grace, an eighth-grader, coordinated the event for her Silver Award project. The Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout in middle school can earn.

"This is a lot of cookies," she said. "I hope they can all fit in the truck."

Girl Scout Danni Lee, of Lilburn, designed a Web site about the project for her Silver Award. For more information about A Taste from Home, visit www.atastefromhome.yolasite.com.