Submitted by Scoutmaster Mike McEahern
The need is greater than ever.
As families continue to struggle across the country, local organizations like the Great Smoky Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America are striving to make a difference close to home.
On Feb. 9, Boy Scouts from Troop 224 from Grace Lutheran Church; Troop 328 from Kern United Methodist Church; and Cub Scouts from Pack 328 and Girl Scouts from Troop 20737, both from First United Methodist Church, teamed up to collect donations in the annual Scouting for Food drive. Donations were collected from neighborhoods throughout Oak Ridge and delivered to the Grace Lutheran Food Pantry. Additionally, Pack 328 led collection efforts at First United Methodist and Woodland Elementary—rewarding the leading classroom at Woodland with a pizza party.
“Troops 224 and 20737 distributed close to 1,500 collection bags from Westwood to Rivers Run during the week,” explained Scoutmaster Mike McEahern. “By the time we finished collecting and sorting food from all our contributors, we had over 125 boxes of non-perishable food totaling about 5,000 individual items. This will meet a significant portion of the food pantry’s needs for the next several months and will allow them to use their cash donations for purchases at regional food banks.
“With Troop 20737’s help, we were able to collect donations in Westwood for the first time in several years—an area that has been missed since Boy Scout Troop 220 disbanded in 2009,” he added. “The Girl Scouts from 20737 were eager to pitch in, and I think it was a fun and unique partnership for two organizations that focus so heavily on service.”
Scouts, leaders, parents, and siblings all pitched in to collect and sort donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Community service is a key component of the Scouting program,” McEahern said. “We expect Scouts to show this through both the daily ‘Good Turn’ and dedicated service activities like Scouting for Food and Eagle Scout projects.”
Thanks to this “Good Turn,” Grace Lutheran will continue to serve the many local families who rely on them for such vital support.
Scouting for Food is an annual nationwide effort sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America. The goal is to support local and regional food banks through collection and donation of non-perishable food items. Local support for the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church Food Pantry was provided by the following organizations:
- Cub Scout Pack 328, First United Methodist/Woodland Elementary – Leader Jim McCauley.
- Boy Scout Troop 224, Grace Lutheran – Scoutmaster Mike McEahern.
- Boy Scout Troop 328, Kern United Methodist – Scoutmaster Keith Jeter.
- Girl Scout Troop 20737, First United Methodist – Troop Leader Anjela McEahern.
Mike McEahern is scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 224 at Grace Lutheran.