CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Many people wait all year for girl scout cookie season, and a girl scout’s top goal is to sell their whole stash. This year, COVID-19 presented a major obstacle, but the troops here in Champaign County were still able to clear out their inventory.

“This was our first year, so we didn’t really know what to expect,” says girl scout mom Sheryl Robinson.

Her daughter, Alyssa Robinson, is new to her girl scout troop, but the pandemic cut her first cookie-selling season short.

“I didn’t get to do all the booths. I was really excited to do those, but then I was really disappointed,” says Alyssa.

Social distancing meant she couldn’t go door-to door, leaving Alyssa with a bunch of unsold boxes.

“At the end, when you’re all done with cookies, whatever you don’t sell…you have to pay back,” says Sheryl.

But Alyssa’s troop got an unexpected customer. Jimmy John’s founder Jimmy John Liautaud bought all the leftover boxes, which totaled about 3,500. That’s over $17,000 worth of cookies.

“I was confused because he’s buying every single cookie in Champaign County,” says Alyssa.

She wondered how one person can eat so many cookies, but Liautaud donated all the boxes to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

The girl scout families did not have to worry about paying for unsold boxes.

“Everybody’s worried about finances right now with everything going on. So, when you’re thinking about $5 a box times however many boxes you have, it’s not like it’s thousands of dollars, but every little bit counts right now when everybody’s kind of pinching pennies,” says Sheryl. “The general consensus across our troop was a sigh of relief.”