This good news story is sponsored by Lampe & Kiefer Hearing Aid Center, 130 S. Commerce Ave, Sebring 33870; 863-385-3497.

SEBRING — In the midst of any crisis, there are often heroes who rise above the situation and stories of good deeds shine through the darkness. This was the case when the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc. were faced stopping the sales of their famous cookies.

However, when life handed Girl Scouts Lemon-Ups, they made lemonade, figuratively speaking (Lemon-Ups are a newer cookie). Highlands County Girl Scouts are included in the Gulfcoast council. When the cookie sales with their traditional cookie booths outside of markets were canceled, the girls had to figure out what to do with the excess inventory.

The Girl Scouts have a track record for giving back to their communities through projects they do to earn badges and Mints for the Military. The girls will be donating the cookies to food pantries, health care workers, first responders and “other hometown heroes who are being particularly impacted during the national health emergency. The council will be picking up the tab, effectively buying back leftover cookies from their troop,” Grants and Communications Manager Lori Tomlison said.

Selling cookies annually teaches the girls valuable life lessons and skills. Troops pay for badges, trips and camp with the proceeds.

“Proceeds from the Girl Scout Cookie Program provide essential funding for Girl Scout Troops to support their community service projects, troop trips, and other activities,” Product Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Sasha Lioce said in a press release. “The loss of revenue was putting stress on the girls and volunteers, so we decided to alleviate that stress while encouraging them to help others.”

“The girls are learning a meaningful lesson about the importance of giving back during times of crisis,” added council CEO Mary Anne Servian. “By donating their cookies, they are saying ‘thank you’ to those who are working exceptionally hard right now, and setting a positive example for the rest of the community.”

The Girl Scout cookie tradition started in 1917 when a troop in Oklahoma started baking and selling cookies they baked themselves. The fundraiser was so successful that other troops followed suit and the rest, as they say, is history. Different regions offer different flavors but the certain cookies such as Thin Mints, Somoas, Trefoils and Tagalongs are a favorite staple.

Like many businesses and nonprofits, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida has had to close its doors and camps and cancel meetings and gatherings through at least April 30.

The council depends on cookie sales for program scholarships and property maintenance at camps and other expenses. To help defray some of the costs associated with the loss of cookie sales, the Girl Scouts are accepting donations at gsgcf.org.