“We need help!”
That was the message from Rosalie Cummings of the Fallston United Methodist Church in early October. Her plea was in response to the depletion of the stock of food in the F.I.S.H. Food Pantry that the church maintains. Recent economic conditions have strained food pantries throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore and could not have come at a worse time, with Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas holidays. Although Ms. Cummings suggested that the scouts “charge” a can of food as an entrance fee at upcoming events, the Cub Scouts of Pack 899 decided to do one better – a full-blown food drive! But could a community-wide food drive be coordinated and successfully held in just one month?
For many years, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts have successfully participated in the early spring “Scouting for Food” drive chaired in Harford County by Gary Ballinger of Troop 801. Using the same model on a local level, Pack 899 was joined by the Scouts of Troop 899, Pack 801 and Troop 801 (chartered – or sponsored – St. Mark in Fallston), and the Girl Scouts of Community 79 in the food drive.
More than 230 Scouts and 145 friends and family helped deliver hundreds of flyers and then collect canned, boxed, bagged and other pre-packaged food items from the generous citizens of Fallston.
By the end of collection day, it was estimated that approximately 2-1/2 tons of food had been collected by the Scouts. This includes the in-house collection of canned goods by Scoutmaster Mike Geiger and the Boy Scouts of St. Mark-based Troop 801. Food collection boxes were also stationed at the Fallston Cup soccer tournament fields.
An elated Rosalie Cummings stated, “Your (the Scouts and the citizens of Fallston) combined efforts will make the holiday season (and beyond) much easier for those finding it difficult to make ends meet in these tough economic times.”
Jan Lee of F.I.S.H. commented: “Current economic conditions have magnified the need for help to the increasing number of those in our community who need assistance to pay for shelter, energy, prescriptions and food. The Scouts have been a consistent supplier to our food closet when our ability to meet the growing frequency of calls to us from the needy has been challenged.”
These same challenges are being felt by Our Daily Bread and other food pantries throughout the archdiocese. Please join with the Scouts and do what you can to help make everyone’s Christmas merry!