What originally was planned as a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois turned into a benefit for Marseilles Elementary School, which sustained heavy flood damage in April.
“We really wanted to do what Girl Scouts started out to do, and that was support the community,” said Kate Peters, chief operating officer of fund development, marketing and communications for the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois.
The Girl Scouts sold 125 tickets to Wednesday night’s Desserts First, a competitive culinary event at Celebrations 150 in Utica. Seven local businesses created desserts that included a Girl Scout cookie as an ingredient. Eight celebrity judges rated the desserts in four categories, and the totals were tallied to determine a winner. The winning business received a trophy resembling an oversized fork.
One of the dessert judges was Judge Cynthia Raccuglia.
“Before I came here I looked up the law on cookies and I couldn’t find any guidelines,” Raccuglia joked, “so I was a little perturbed at that.”
CJ Hendrickson, director of product sales for Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, judged the desserts as well.
“It’s amazing what they’ve done with the cookies,” he said. “Everything’s very special, unexpectedly good.”
Participants had the chance to taste all seven desserts and vote for their favorite. The winner of that vote received a “People’s Choice” trophy.
Raffles added to the fundraising effort.
Marseilles Elementary School assistant principal Rose McIntyre served as a judge at the event and told the crowd about the school’s need.
“Nine of our classrooms were ruined in the flood,” she said, adding that the band room, cafeteria and offices also sustained damage.
McIntyre said 80 of the school’s 130 students had been displaced from their homes. Students finished the school year in three different locations, but McIntyre said she hopes the school can re-open in the fall.
“We are just so grateful for their support,” McIntyre said of the Girl Scouts. “This came as a total surprise to me and we are just overwhelmed.”