Girl Scouts sell nearly 220,000 boxes of cookies for service members as part of Operation Thin Mint

SAN DIEGO - More than 3,000 Girl Scouts celebrated their annual "Operation Thin Mint" sendoff on board the USS Midway Museum on Saturday.

The event ended months of work selling Girl Scout cookies, which will be delivered to service members all over the world. This year, they sold nearly 220,000 boxes.

Jazmine Romero, one of the top sellers, sold more than 3,000 boxes all by herself.

"You learn about community service and how important it is to give back to those who help you," she told 10News.

She joined a handful of other top sellers in a special helicopter ride landing on board the USS Midway Museum.

Troop-wise, the Girl Scout group from San Marcos took it a notch up. They entered a radio contest and automatically got an order for 500 boxes.

Mother Lisa Brant said this has taught the girls the importance of thanking those who serve.

"Girl Scouts has been good for them for leadership and learning about their civic duty, and honoring the troops that are out there protecting us," she said.

Attached to each box is a handwritten note from the Girl Scouts. Halie Wong said by drawing a picture, she knows it will spread some cheer to those who need it most.

"They told me it made them feel as if they were home because they got the cookies and the note to show we care about them," she said.

Sailor Brian Smith said it helped him get through his deployments.

"It was like a piece of home because you are out in the middle of the ocean," he said. "You aren't seeing your families, so you get these cookies and you're like… it's something close to your heart. It brings back memories of childhood, eating them or just sitting around with your family."

Elson Abiles, who has been in the Marine Corps for more than 15 years, also remembers the special delivery he received courtesy of the Girl Scouts.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "It's like opening up that letter from your family. Plus, everybody loves Girl Scout cookies."

Now, it has come full circle as he helps his daughter sell boxes for his fellow service members.

"It makes me feel happy because we're serving those who serve us," said Ebony Abiles.

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