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Sharing the Bounty: Scouts gather food to present to local pantry

Local Cub Scouts gathered food this past weekend with an eye to ensuring area families have enough to eat.
“It’s to help people that don’t have Thanksgiving,” said Carter Devore, a third grade student at Jonesborough Elementary and a member of Cub Scout Pack 130.
Scouts from Pack 130 delivered empty bags to area homes on Nov. 14 for residents to fill with canned foods. This past Saturday, Nov. 21, those same Scouts returned to pick up the bags and deliver them to the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry.
It’s a project, said Cub Leader Jared Hale, that has been going on as long as he can remember.
“Scouts have been doing this fundraiser for decades,” he said. “When the adults were kids, they were doing ‘Scouting for Food.’”
This year, the Cub Scouts, who meet regularly at the Jackson Park Church of the Brethren in Jonesborough, decided to share their collected bounty with the JAMA Food Pantry.
“Last year we gave to the food pantry at Crockett, but we just wanted to spread the love a little bit,” Hale said.
The process is generally the same each year.
“One Saturday in November we go out and distribute bags,” Hale explained. “We go through various subdivisions and put the bags on the doors. Then we come back the very next Saturday and pick up food people have donated.”
The event is important for the Scouts, as well as the families they serve, their Cub leader maintains.
“Scouts are always working on community service,” he said. “It’s an integral part of scouting, helping to show them that it is not always about them. It can be about people who don’t have enough.”
The project is also the perfect way to commemorate the Thanksgiving holiday, Hale believes.
“Such donations are ant any time of the year, but with cold weather and Christmas and Thanksgiving coming around, it becomes very important,” he said. “We want to teach the boys to give thanks for what they have, and to help the community as well.”
The boys, it appears, are definitely getting the message.
“You get to help the people who don’t have food so they can have food and live,” explained Ty Slagle, age 10, when asked about why he thought the project was important.
Matthew Hale, age 10, agreed, adding that Scouting for him has always been about having fun, but he likes being able to help out. And that, he said, can be fun too.
“In Scouting, you get to camp and do fun stuff with your friends,” Matthew said. “With this, you get to help people have food for Thanksgiving, because they may not have any.”
The Scouting for Food project also has the full support of JAMA pantry volunteers who have seen its impact.
“Its been a pretty good blessing,” said J.D. Middleton, who works at the pantry, which is operated by the churches of Jonesborough. “Pack 130 brought in 1,627 pieces of food. We have two other packs that come in, so altogether we ended up with a total 3,866 pieces.”
Such gifts are doubly important to area families, Middleton said, because it frees up money to purchase items that might not otherwise be included in the pantry — not glamorous items, but basics like flour. The items are set out, so families can “shop” for what they need. And the more items the pantry receives, the greater the ability to make a difference for residents who are having trouble making ends meet.
This year, according to Middleton, Cub Scouts from Pack 130 got to be an important part of that difference.