Local Scouts team up with football players to collect and deliver donated food.
By Chris BLUME
Service to the community has long been an integral part of the Scouting movement. Indeed, helping others is a key element of the Boy Scout Oath and Law. After all, the Scout Slogan is “Do a good turn daily.”
The past two Saturdays, local Boy Scout Troop 319 joined Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Cub Scouts in the CV area participating in a national food drive held every year by the Boy Scouts of America. On Nov. 14, hundreds of Scouts gathered together and distributed thousands of paper bags, which were provided this year by Trader Joe’s. The bags were dropped off on the doorsteps of local residents with instructions printed on the side explaining that non-perishable food could be placed in the bag for charity and left on the front doorstep the following Saturday for pick up by the Scouts. In Crescenta Valley, the event was organized by the Verdugo Hills Boy Scout Council, which oversees the scout groups in Glendale, La Crescenta, Burbank, La Cañada, Sunland, Montrose, Tujunga and Eagle Rock. This past Saturday, the Scouts again gathered and scoured the streets of foothill neighborhoods looking for food bags that had been left for collection.
According to assistant scoutmaster Bob Fletcher, the annual collection is a favorite activity of some of the boys, many whom have been participating for more than 10 years, starting as Cub Scouts.
“They love doing it,” said Fletcher. “They really do. They look forward to it. Probably six to ten [of the boys] would say that this is their favorite event.”
Once collected, the bags were taken to local drop off points. The Scouts of Troop 319 dropped their food off at the American Legion Hall, where Fletcher’s Scout Troop 288 was manning the collection site, organizing and boxing the donated food.
“We litrally collate every can of food that is brought in, separating into categories – fruits, vegetables, that type of thing,” said Fletcher.
After color coding the product, it is loaded up with some of the food being taken to nearby First Baptist Church as part of its food distribution service.
However, the generosity of the community quickly became apparent as more and more bags began arriving and more help was needed. Fletcher, also a CVHS Falcon football booster parent, knew just who to call: the boys football team.
Around 11 a.m. players showed up, quickly loading up bags of food that were then driven to the church where they unloaded the bags in no time according to Fletcher.
This year’s facts and figures are still being added up, but last year, there were 526 volunteers distributing bags, collecting food, and organizing donations in the Verdugo Hills Council. In addition to the church, local food banks received donations. But the food banks weren’t the only ones that gained something from the event, according to Fletcher.
“What I really like is that two totally different organizations came together,” he said of the Scouts and football players. “[The players] never asked what they could get out of the experience. This is just guys that just do this stuff. That for me was pretty special.”