On Saturday, June 20, 2020, ECHO (Ecumenical Community Helping Others), a non-profit agency helping the needy in Fairfax County, Virginia, received two tons of donated food as part of a food drive conducted by Life Scout, Mathew Norsky, a youth leader in Scouts, BSA Troop 1131B. Matthew organized this Eagle Scout Project and he recruited twenty-two scouts from Troop 1131, members of the Patriot Chapter in the Order of the Arrow, and members of other troops in the Patriot District of the National Capital Area Council, BSA. Mathew organized his volunteers into three teams dispatched to two collection points, churches in the area, and to ECHO’s warehouse/headquarters. Personally leading the operation, Mathew went to each location to coordinate activities, insure health and safety compliance due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Hunger and food insecurity may be as high as 20% in the population that is served by ECHO in the Burke, West Springfield, Springfield, Fairfax Station and Fairfax City communities of Fairfax County, Virginia. Families in need of food turn to ECHO for support and ECHO reports that they are now providing food to approximately five hundred families or three times the number of people they normally assist.
For the food drive, individual scout families brought non-perishable food from their homes and from the homes of their friends, neighbors and relatives. Scouts practiced “social distancing” by asking others to place donations at a specific place near the scout’s home such as the front porch or mail box. Scouts in uniform, delivered the food to the pick-up points. Matthew obtained support from seven units in the Patriot District: Pack 873, Pack 1344, Troop 50, Troop 1131, Troop 1344, Troop 1345G, and Troop 1347.
At two collection points, Westwood Baptist Church on Old Keene Mill Road and Saint Stephens United Methodist Church on Braddock Road, many parents and scouts dropped off donated food where volunteers took the boxes and bags from cars to transport to ECHO’s warehouse. The food drive was a great success and took place on a day when the weather included both rain and sunshine. Together, we made it happen. We did our “Good Turn” that day.
Footnote: The Rotary Club of Springfield, Virginia, participated in Matthew’s Eagle Project and provided direct monetary support to ECHO. Three of the adult volunteers at the food drive were both Scout Leaders and Rotarians: Mr. Gary Black, Mr. Mark Blanchard, and Mr. Philip Sternberg. Other Rotarians from the Springfield Rotary Club who provided additional support to ECHO’s overall activities include Mr. Wayne Chiles and Mrs. Joan Ledebur.
Project submitted by: Philip Sternberg
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