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Making sure the hungry are fed… BSA Troop and Pack 516 asking for community’s help to meet need of local ministry

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
This year the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) is not conducting the Annual Food Drive in Sequoyah Council until February because of COVID-19. However, that hasn’t stopped BSA Troop and Pack 516 from recognizing a local need that they are rolling up their sleeves to get involved in to support ARM (Assistance and Resource Ministry).
According to Scoutmaster Ricki Dykes, the desire to help arises from a decrease in requests from ARM due to the COVID pandemic.
“Each year ARM requests certain items from many of the area churches,” Dykes said. “However, since many churches are either closed or at half capacity, they are not asking churches to help.
“They receive some money to purchase food, but no big donations are coming in this year.”
As the year begins coming to an end with two big holidays around the corner in Thanksgiving and Christmas, just having the necessary food items not above or beyond the typical large meals is something that many will be facing due to loss of jobs or reduction in hours.
With the troop having to put off its November drive due to the pandemic, they still realized the importance of coming alongside of ARM to make sure the ministries’ pantry will have food to provide those that are in need.
“Normally the BSA has a Food for Scouting campaign during the month of November, but, because of COVID-19 this has been canceled till February,” Dykes stated. “Troop 516 and Pack 516 sponsored by First Baptist Church in Elizabethton usually gather over 3,000 food items for ARM during this door to door pick up during November.
“In addition, since many people are out of work and ARM supports many people, the youth in the Troop decided on their own under the direction of Sentio Patrol Leader, Zach Crow, that they would like to contact a drop off food drive for ARM to provide for members of our community.”
When it comes to what types of food that is being requested, Dykes said that any non-perishable food items are needed such as canned or boxed food, boxed mixes, and packages of mixes.
The troop will be setting drop-off boxes at six locations in Elizabethton including Carter County Bank located at 800 East Broad Street, Ingles, Tractor Supply, J’s Corner, Big John’s Closeout, and Southern Restaurant beginning on November 9 and running through November 24, 2020.
Food will be collected from the boxes twice weekly and delivered to ARM.
Troop and Pack 516 hopes to have an overwhelming response to the need that is present in the community and haven’t set any type of goal for the drive but has high hopes that they can meet and exceed their normal November food drive.
“There is not a particular goal,” Dykes commented. “ARM has said that they would be grateful for any amount. However, we usually shoot for 2,500 to 3,000 items during the normal Bag Collection.”
As of right now, there haven’t been any plans made for pickup but that is something that Dykes hasn’t ruled out if someone can’t get out but would to donate.