Food drive meets needs, builds community servants
Published 7:51 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2016
A large part of the Boy Scouts of America program is duty to God and country. This month, local Boy Scout troops joined others around the nation to collect food for those in need through Scouting for Food, a community service project that yielded 74,000 pounds of food for food banks across eastern North Carolina.
In Beaufort County, several troops began to collect food last weekend, as scheduled. However, due to winter weather, some collections by Troop 99 of Washington were postponed until this weekend, according to Dal Newbold, committee chairman for Troop 99. On Feb. 6, Cub Scout Pack 99, the younger counterpart of Troop 99, put out 1,500 to 2,000 door hangers, with the older scouts doing most of the collections.
“We’ve already collected some,” Newbold said. “We’re going to try and cover the rest this Saturday.”
Some of the collected food, about 210 pounds, has already been donated to Eagle’s Wings food pantry of Washington, according to Ann-Marie Montague, executive director. However, the pantry is expecting more food donated once Troop 99 finishes its collections.
Montague said the donations are essential to providing more options for the pantry’s clients and are timely because the bulk of food drives being held in the months of November and December.
“Into the middle of February, some of the areas we have a lot of food in are getting a little lighter,” Montague said. “When we get (donations), that really helps our shelves look better for our clients. Two hundred and ten pounds of food will provide about 200 meals. That’s pretty significant. Cub Scout Pack 99 and Boy Scout Troop 99 have been star supporters of Eagle’s Wings in the past. It’s been a really good partnership. We are very grateful for their efforts, and we really appreciate all they do to help us feed our friends and neighbors.”
Newbold said the project is a great way to help scouts understand how to identify and meet needs in the community. Throughout a scout’s path from Cub Scout to Eagle Scout, his is required to complete service hours that help organizations, which, in turn, help the community on a larger scale.
“We’re collecting locally and distributing locally, and the boys understand the people in the community are helping to provide something back to those in need in the community,” Newbold said. “We help them realize that whatever service project we do to benefit others in need, it’s important that it’s community related. It’s great that we have Eagle’s Wings here that filters any donations it gets and provides them for specific needs in our community.”
The project is an annual opportunity corresponding with the Boy Scouts of America’s anniversary, according to Brandon Kleimann, district executive for the East Carolina Council. This year, the scouts celebrated their 106th anniversary on Feb. 8.
Kleimann said the East Carolina Council of the Boys Scouts disperses 133,000 door hangers to troops across 20 counties in the region. The first weekend of February, troops hang the notices on doorknobs of houses, announcing the drive and asking for residents to chip in by leaving canned, boxed or dry goods on their porches for scouts to collect on a certain date, Kleimann said.
“One main point of the Scout’s oath is duty to God and country,” Kleimann said. “Along with country, there is community. In general, they’re giving back to the community. It’s one of the main ways that any youth, from my own experience, can give back. There are not a lot of chances for young boys to go out and do a lot of community service. It’s also a really big opportunity to bring the community together. Anything that can bring people together in the community, provide for the community, and then, of course, it’s something that gets the young kids involved and gives them something positive they’re able to do.”