Troop 118 rolls up sleeves for Feb. food project
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Friday, Jan. 24, 2014

Troop 118 rolls up sleeves for Feb. food project

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/21/15/53/Uv2Be.Em.138.jpeg|237
    - NANCY THOMASON
    Boy Scouts will be distributing these bags to neighborhood throughout Mecklenburg County to collect food for their annual Scouting for Food service project. Food will be collected Feb. 1 and will help fill the shelves of local food pantry Loaves and Fishes.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/21/15/53/R0ab5.Em.138.jpeg|237
    - NANCY THOMASON
    Boy Scout Vance Ayscue is surrounded by a few of the 600 bags he will be distributing in neighborhoods for Scouting for Food. He, and all other scouts in Mecklenburg County, will be collecting non-perishable foods on February 1.
  • Want to help?

    Mecklenburg County Boy Scouts will distribute grocery bags in neighborhoods throughout the county in the week prior to Feb. 1. Scouts will collect them Feb. 1.

    You also can drop off food donations at these locations 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 1 and 12:30-2:30 p.m. Feb. 2:

    • Arboretum Shopping Center, Providence Road and N.C. 51, Charlotte.

    • Ada Jenkins Center, 212 Gamble St., Davidson.

    • Huntersville United Methodist Church, 14005 Stumptown Road, Huntersville.

    • Mulberry Presbyterian Church, 5600 Tuckaseegee Road, Charlotte.

    • Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, 11501 Bain School Road, Mint Hill.

    • Sharon United Methodist Church, 4411 Sharon Road, Charlotte.

    • Town Center Plaza, 8600 University City Blvd., Charlotte.

    • Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3115 Providence Road, Charlotte.

    Also, donate at any Harris Teeter from Feb. 1-9.

In the past few years, Boy Scout Vance Ayscue has come pretty close to collecting 2,000 pounds of food for the Scouting for Food service project.

On Feb. 1, he will join scouts from across Mecklenburg County in collecting food to help feed the hungry. And this year, he’s determined to make his goal.

“Personal best” and “healthy competition” are some of the buzz words thrown around by local Scout troops this time of year. Vance, a member of Troop 118 at St. Stephen Methodist Church, on Sardis Road, is no slouch when it comes to meeting high goals. The 15-year-old has been a member of the troop for more than four years and is a Lifetime Scout who plans to pursue the rank of Eagle this year.

Vance, the son of Frankie and Gina Ayscue of Foxcroft East, is a junior at Providence Day School. “Vance has consistently been a high achiever in his service project,” Scoutmaster Stephen Pace said.

Scout Will Reid is also a consistent high achiever.

The 85 Scouts in Troop 118 have set a goal to collect total of 25,000 pounds of food.

Last year, Scouting for Food produced almost 265,000 pounds of food for local food pantry Loaves and Fishes. Scouts provide the food gathering, while corporate sponsorship is provided by Harris Teeter, NBC Charlotte, WSOC-FM (103.7) and Stegall Trucking.

The food gathered through Scouting for Food is an important part of Loaves and Fishes yearly non-perishable and dried goods inventory.

“We count on the Scouts to stock our pantries from February to May,” said Beverly Howard, Loaves and Fishes executive director. Priority needs this year include canned meat, canned pastas, cereal, canned fruit and 100-percent fruit juice.

Howard, who has worked with Scouting for Food for more than 20 years, speaks fondly about their relationship with the Scouts. Loaves and Fishes depends on the generosity of our community to feed our hungry citizens while the Boy Scouts have a bounty of eager young men willing and able to undertake a service project of this magnitude. Howard refers to the collaboration as a “perfect partnership.”

The concept is simple. Grocery bags are distributed to neighborhoods to be filled with food and left outside houses to be collected Feb. 1. Scout troops sort food and deliver it to donation centers located around the county. Food can also be delivered directly to the donations centers Feb. 1-2, or put in food barrels at your local Harris Teeter from Feb. 1 to 9.

The personal touch of distributing bags directly to your home is the key to the success of this project. Vance’s strategy includes attaching a personal letter to each bag.

“If people need an early or late pick up, I include my contact information,” Vance said. Customer service like this goes a long way. “I have had neighbors send me thank-you notes.”

Vance and his dad also cruise neighborhoods several times during pick up day to make sure every bag of food is collected. This clean-up strategy has proven very effective, and assures people know their contributions are appreciated.

Through all projects of this type, the collective effort and camaraderie is what these young men look forward to each year. But importance of service to community is what each scout walks away with. “It’s the motivation to give back,” Vance said. “Helping others is important to me.”

Loaves and Fishes’ Beverly Howard agrees. “By helping us, the Scouts help feed the hungry of Mecklenburg County.”

Nancy Thomason is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Nancy? Email her at greatstories28270@gmail.com.

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