A Season of Giving

Tobias Beyke

Nearly every family has their own holiday traditions to follow. Some people throw extravagant parties to celebrate the season, while others prefer to spend their time in quiet contemplation. However unique their traditions may be, a common thread between most families in the holiday season is a feast to bring together their loved ones. For some, though, the cost of preparing such celebratory meals is too much of a financial burden. This is the driving factor behind the Boy Scouts of America’s annual food drive, Scouting for Food.

During the weekends of November 10th and 17th, Boy Scouts in communities across the U.S. worked to fill their local food pantries in preparation for the holiday season. Carterville was not left out in these activities, with Boy Scout Troop 77, Cub Scout Pack 77, and Sea Scout Ship 77 working in Carterville, Cambria, Hurst, and Bush. Collectively, they were able to gather over 10,000 donated items from these communities.

The BSA has developed a unique system in order to have their members service the entire country. Every year, during the second weekend of November, Scouts go from door to door placing bright plastic bags on the front door of each house with a message asking for a donation of non perishable food items. The next week, they drive by and collect the bags, hopefully filled with the generous offerings of the community.

An operation on such a scale as this requires the coordination of thousands of people across the United States. Assumedly, this would not be an easy task. Mark Beyke, who coordinated the local Scouting district’s effort in Scouting for Food, said in response to this assumption, “Actually, my job was very easy. We had such a large turn-out in our area and such a strong youth leadership, I didn’t have much to do beyond simple administration.”

Why would these youth spend their own time during the holidays running around the city? Junior Benjamin Konvalinka, who is the current leader of Troop 77, said “It just makes me feel good, knowing that I’m helping those who can’t afford what the community can help provide.”

Hopefully, the actions of these young members of the community can help inspire others to feel generous this holiday season and help give to those less fortunate than them. If you’re looking for places to volunteer your time, local organizations like Gumdrops (http://gumdropkidsnfp.org/volunteer/,), The Lighthouse Shelter (http://www.thelighthouseshelter.com/index2.php?mode=contact), and Herrin House of Hope (http://herrinhouseofhope.org/volunteer_work_plan) all help to serve the community.