By Ms. Elyssa Vondra (Jackson)April 25, 2019
Learning how to rustle up grub with Cub Scouts has taken on a whole new meaning for Fort Jackson's Pack 89. They have rounded up roughly 10 pickup truck loads of food for donation in an ongoing effort to feed hungry youth.
For the last year, Cub Scouts on-post have been working with Richland Northeast High School, the high school installation youth are zoned to attend, to contribute non-perishable items to its food bank.
The kids who receive the food aren't in an "optimum living situation ... due to life circumstances," said William Sexton, cubmaster of Pack 89 and a Fort Jackson fire inspector.
Some may have broken family situations, with others affected by natural disasters. The food bank provides them with nourishment at school and extra to take home with them.
The high school also sends some items off to other local schools in need to distribute to their students.
"One of my Scout moms brought (the program) to our attention last year," Sexton said. "We were looking for something to do," and since community service is one of the "big tenets of scouting," they took on the challenge.
"Our efforts have provided … thousands of meals to their program," he said.
John Gurule, 8, a wolf scout whose mom, Amy, is the assistant cubmaster of the pack, said food drives have been his favorite thing to do with Cub Scouts because "you get to tell (people in the community) what you're doing and they can give you stuff to help other people."
The recipients are near and dear to the hearts of Fort Jackson, Sexton said. Some may come from inside the gates of the installation, and others are their friends and peers.
"It supports not only families, but also kids' education and growth … the need is always there in that community," he added.
The installation has been extremely receptive to that message, Sexton said.
Some of the food is contributed by housing area residents when Scouts do their "Scouting for Food" treks.
Most of the donations have come from their Commissary visits. They are allowed to set up shop out in front from time to time to request contributions.
Shoppers regularly purchase items on the food bank's list of needs. The store's baggers have even offered up $70 of their tips at once to purchase grocery items to donate.
"Our kids are our biggest salesmen," Sexton said. They await patrons to inform them of the cause.
"Doing the things that help the community" is what Sexton's son, William "Jun" Jr., a third grade student and bear cub, says is his favorite part of being in Cub Scouts. "I guess it shows the good in you."
Donations to the food bank can be made at any time; non-perishable food item collection boxes are set up in the Thomas Lee Hall Library, the Directorate of Emergency Services building, the youth center and the Commissary.