Scout project to benefit food pantry

Scout project to benefit food pantryBy REBECCA NEIPP

News Review Staff Writer

A local teenager is combining two of his passions for his Eagle Scout Project — feeding the hungry, and running. The community can participate by joining Caleb Washburn for a 5K on Saturday, March 25, at Upjohn Park.

“My family helps with the Salvation Army Christmas food baskets every year,” he said. This year, organizers told the Washburns that the community food pantry was running low. “So I decided to collect food for them for a project.”

The 17-year-old is also a member of the Burroughs High School cross-country team, “and I wanted to incorporate that into my project. A 5K run-walk-food-drive seemed like the best way to mix the two.”

“I am pleased to know that young people are invested and involved in the efforts to help the community here in Ridgecrest,” said Salvation Army Lt. Brenda Orr. “We do not generally have a food drive this time of year, so this will be very helpful in getting us through the summer months.”

Washburn said that he has learned a tremendous amount through the planning process. “There is a lot of effort that goes on behind the scenes for big events like this that I had no idea of. It has been a real eye-opener for me.”

That is one of the benefits of achieving Eagle Scout rank, he said. “In order to get your Eagle rank you have to earn more than 21 merit badges teaching you about everything from the proper way to operate a gun to the way the government works.”

On top of being a great learning experience, Washburn said the rank is also an advantage when applying for college and jobs.

Since joining Scouts at age 8, “I have learned to make goals and accomplish them. Also I have learned the importance of being a good citizen and service my community to make it a better place for everyone.”

Signups for the event will begin at 7:30 a.m., with the start of the race at 8 a.m. The “fee” is one non-perishable food item.

Orr said that Salvation Army is in particular need of cereal, canned goods, peanut butter and jelly and anything else with a long shelf life.

“Thanks to the generous community of Ridgecrest, we are able to meet the needs of the community,” she said.

Pictured: Caleb Washburn invites residents to join him next weekend for a 5K run-walk to help restock the Salvation Army. -- Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2017-03-17