Elizabethton’s Boy Scout Troop delivers food donation to ARM

Ask a teenager to help with chores, and they might complain, but get their friends involved, and it becomes a party. Convince your family to pitch in for a holiday donation, and you might get a meal or two for your trouble. But get your fellow Boy Scouts involved, and suddenly you have hundreds of bags to donate all at once.

Boy Scout Troop 516 pulled their trailer up to the front doors of the Assistance and Resources Ministries building Monday evening, the boys forming a line to unload bags and bags of food items from their trailer into giant collection bins.

Acting Director of the ministry Leonard Carver said the 2,582 items were roughly equivalent to around 3,000 pounds of food delivered that day alone.

“This will help us all through the holidays,” Carver said.

The troop received that much food from their national Scouting for Food program, an annual initiative led by the Boy Scouts of America.

In the program, Scouts will leave empty bags at people’s homes with instructions on what kinds of items they can place inside. When the bag is filled, the person leaves the bag where the Scout left it, who then retrieves it on a specific day after.

Scoutmaster Ricki Dykes said the bags normally go to places like Food City or other companies, who then distribute the bags to organizations and charities who need them. However, Troop 517 does things a little differently.

“Because we are right here, we give the bags directly to ARM,” Dykes said. “We want to keep it local.”

For the troop, they set out their empty bags on November 10, and they picked them up a week later on November 17.

Senior Patrol Leader Eli Bowers said helping people was the main goal of the program, but there were other benefits.

“I felt like it was a good team effort,” Bowers said. “I enjoy leading the other guys, and I think this was the right thing to do.”

First Class scout Logan David said he put out a large number of bags in his neighborhood and community, but he only received four bags of food back at the end.

Despite this setback, he said the feedback taught him something important.

“It made me feel grateful and hopeful for the future,” David said.

Carver said he knew the donation would be generous, but he was surprised that day nonetheless.

“It was more exciting than I thought,” Carver said. “I was pleased to see the numbers, but also the enthusiasm of the kids.”

He said there are still three weeks left of donations for the holiday season, and ARM could use anything they can receive from the community, be it food, clothing or financial donations.

“We would like to see more groups donate,” he said. “We like to see food donations, but we can also benefit from money donations if they can.”

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