LAKEVIEW — Last year, 9-year-old Lakeview resident and St. Andrew student Giada Gambatese sold 13,061 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and donated them to the Gift of Caring Program, which sends the cookies to organizations that put together care packages for members of the military.
But Giada isn't the kind of kid who rests on her laurels. This year, she wanted to sell even more boxes for the Gift of Caring Program.
The final 2017 tally? 30,120.
“We wanted to up the ante this year, so we targeted her papa’s [grandpa's] local President’s Club of which he is a member,” said Giada’s mom, Gianna Franzia, according to a blog post by the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “All of the members are remarkable companies and were eager to donate knowing it went to aid our men and women in the armed forces.”
Giad's grandfather was a captain in the Marines during the Vietnam War, so his connections to people and companies passionate about the armed forces offered a huge boost to Giada's efforts.
But even though Giada has been the top seller in her council, which covers 245 communities in the Chicagoland region, for two years in a row now, she isn't going to stop at 30,000.
"I'm going to try to sell even more next year because I want to reach another goal," she said, adding that she hopes to reach 100,000 boxes in 2018.
"Oh boy," Franzia said with a laugh. "I may have to brace myself."
As one can imagine, selling tens of thousands of boxes of Girl Scout cookies is a lot of work.
First, Giada had to ask potential customers if they'd like to buy the cookies for her cause. She would send emails and follow up with phone calls; she even created a video of herself asking for donations.
Then, she had to place orders and keep track of finances. After the ordering process was complete, she would send thank-you cards to each buyer.
“I think just staying organized was the most challenging part for us," Franzia said. "There were quite a few companies that we reached out to, and we tried to follow up with them. We sent them thank-you cards, and just keeping track of all the orders is time-consuming.”
But at the end of the day, Giada learned that hard work — especially when you get good help with it — pays off.
And what's the most important lesson she learned from this experience?
"Giving is good," she said.
"That's a good lesson," her mom agreed.