Ridgeway Girl Scout donates cookies to homeless

Haley Autry’s cat, Willow, assists as Haley shows off the growing stack of Girl Scout cookies that she plans to donate to Oliver Gospel Mission residents. | Barbara Ball

RIDGEWAY – If a Ridgeway Girl Scout named Haley Autry, 9, knocks on your front door selling Girl Scout cookies, you might want to order a couple of extra boxes. She has plans for them – great plans.

A fourth grader at Richard Winn Academy, Haley was busy selling cookies door to door recently when a neighbor and friend of Haley’s family decided that, instead of purchasing cookies to eat, she would buy some from Haley and donate them to the residents of Oliver Gospel Mission in downtown Columbia.

Later that day Haley asked her mom, Jennifer, if she, too, could organize a cookie donation for the mission.

“Since homeless people probably can’t afford to buy the cookies,” Haley told her mom, “I want to make sure they get them.”  She settled on Oliver Gospel Mission as her charity of choice.

As Haley busied about selling Girl Scout cookies, she asked each of her customers if they would like to purchase a box for the homeless. She set a goal of 100 donations and even made a video with a sales pitch and posted it on Facebook.

Her sales pitch was apparently hard to turn down.

She passed her goal in no time and continued collecting cookie donations until she had 200 boxes.

Her friend offered to deliver the cookies to Oliver Gospel Mission for Haley sometime next month.

“She is so excited for them to be delivered,” Jennifer Autry said of her daughter’s cookie philanthropy.

But Haley isn’t finished doing good. Now she’s collecting boxes of cookies for first responders.

“I’ve collected 30 so far,” she said.

“It’s amazing what she’s been able to do,” Autry said of her daughter. “And we are very proud of her.”