Many (all?) Girl Scout councils have a cookie share program that allows you to buy boxes from girls, but have the cookies sent to a charity. The troop chooses the food pantry, shelter, or wherever they want to send the cookies. The girls can still go to horse camp.First, I don't want to seem anti-Girl Scout. I have friends with various kinds of close connections to Girl Scouts, I think they are a great organization, especially since they do not promote homophobia like their othergender counterpart, etc..
However, and no offense to the commenter: It's unclear even if cookies were entirely free that one is doing the world a favor by stocking any food pantry or shelter with additional cookies. Americans below the poverty line, as a group, evince some of the poorest dietary decision-making anywhere on the planet, due to a complex variety of reasons but certainly not helped by boxes of free cookies. Regardless, there is no such thing as a free cookie, and the same money used to buy cookies could be used to: (1) donate the profit from the cookies to the Girl Scouts, (2) donate the wholesale cost of the cookie to the organization that would get the cookies as a donation and (3) give the savings from deducting the donation from one's taxes to whatever organization one prefers.
Can you really not make a charitable donation to the Girl Scouts and just have that count toward whatever cookie quota a given scout has toward sending her troop to horse camp? Does everything have to be translated into the currency of cookies for it to be part of the sales drive?
It says something about my social networks that I have no recollection of ever personally having been directly asked by a Girl Scout to buy cookies. I don't even think I've ever been directly asked by a parent of a Girl Scout either, although I've been in places where people have put up a signup sheet on a bulletin board (sometimes with an explicit note like, "I'll participate in your kid's fundraising drive if you participate in mine.") When I do, however, my response will not be to fork over cash to fight the War On Poverty with Thin Mints.