Local scouts gather over 3,000 food items for ARM
Published 9:21 am Friday, November 27, 2015
Waking up early to spend hours in the cold distributing nearly 2,000 empty bags for a food drive is no problem for the Elizabethton Boy Scouts.
Troop 516 and Pack 516 collected 3,020 food items for Assistance Resource Ministry.
“This is the largest single donation we have received all year,” said Nikki Jones, ARM executive director.
Scout Master Ricki Dykes said she is very proud of their hard work; they collected more than any group in the Sequoia Council.
“I want kids around here to have the opportunity to become good leaders, to have strong values, to learn to help others and to communicate — those are the things that build our future,” said Dykes.
On November 14, the boys spent about four hours setting out the bags throughout the community and then spent another four hours gathering them one week later.
“I think we covered more ground than other groups because we all delivered bags and collected in the areas where we live, as well as going to Hampton because their troop lost its charter,” said Scout Cory Lawson. “I think collecting this much food will help our city fight hunger.”
Last year, Lawson said they collected double the council’s estimated average, and he thinks this year, they tripled that number.
Their collection comprised over half of the donations, and Elizabethton Food City donated the rest.
“We want to especially thank Food City and its employees that helped,” said Dykes. “They were so enthusiastic and bagged up almost half of what we got.”
The scouts said they worked really hard to collect the food and they hope it makes a difference in people’s lives.
“People need food so we’re here to help them, and we hope they enjoy it,” said Deon Langston.
Additionally, Southside Christian Church housed the food until it could be taken all at once to Food City, and Dykes wanted to recognize their gracious hospitality.
Troop and Pack 516 combined are the largest group in the Sequoia Council and brand new as of October 2014. Dykes said they had 30 boys in the pack in May, but there are now about 100, and the troop has four members.
Dream Moore Ranch in Elizabethton sponsors the club and Dykes said the troop and pack wouldn’t exist without the support of Kitty and Ralph Moore as a sponsor.
“I think we have been so successful because of the support of our leaders who put out good publicity and emphasize how important scouting is for youth,” said Dykes. “It builds character and provides them better opportunities for jobs and scholarships. It gives them a wide range of opportunities, especially when they earn their Eagle Scout.”
Their next fundraiser is selling poinsettias at Creekside Nursery every Saturday until December 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help pay for scouts’ tuition to attend summer camp and other overnight outings, as well as to fund service projects and equipment to teach skills.
Some of this equipment has been used to do trail maintenance on the Tweetsie Trail on a monthly basis, and they plan to have a Tweetsie clean-up themed float in the Christmas Parade.
Dykes said these projects and learning experiences will help them to earn their Eagles and to become better citizens.
“Seeing their character develop makes me realize they are wise beyond their years, and that’s what makes it so good,” said Dykes.