In a normal year, East Dubuque residents would by now have received a hanger with two notes. One note shared the story of the East Dubuque Boy Scouts and the other provided the necessary details of the upcoming food drive.
Residents were instructed to hang a bag of food on the hanger and place it on the door knob of the front door. A Scout would then stop by and pick up the bag of food and take it to the food pantry.
But, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scouts, Troops 14 and 114 have adapted the food drive due to the pandemic, so says Audrey Kilgore, 16, of Troop 114.
This year, on Saturday, April 17, Scouts are taking a different approach. East Dubuque residents are being asked to simply place a bag of food outside their front door by 9 a.m.
Audrey’s sister, Josie Kilgore, 12, says each Scout, with a parent, will then be sent out around town, usually in their own neighborhood to pick up bags of food. When the car is full, they’ll head to the East Dubuque Food Pantry where leaders will weigh the food and then help stock the shelves.
Joe Kingsley, Troop 14 Scoutmaster, said the changes were made in the annual food drive to allow for the safety of the Scouts and for proper social distancing.
Andrew Arling, 16, noted that the food drive is good experience.
The fact that the East Dubuque Scout troops are helping the food pantry shouldn’t be lost on anyone. It’s a story of partnership, says Dave Weimerskirch.
Dave is a member of the East Dubuque Lions Club. He facilitates the community service of the food pantry and serves as liaison with the Scout troops.
Eighty-six years ago, the East Dubuque Lions Club chartered East Dubuque Boy Scout Troop 14. It’s the oldest troop in the Northeast Iowa Council of Scouts. In 2017, the Lions added the responsibility of running the food pantry as part of its community mission.
The ties between the two organizations are tight.
In a normal year, the Scouts pick up 1,200-1,500 pounds of food. Late last summer, the Scouts held a food drive and collected 2,000 pounds of food.
“The community really got behind us,” Scoutmaster Kingsley said.
Dave Weimerskirch said canned goods, boxed food items and hygiene products would be appreciated. He added that the food pantry serves eight to 16 families and is open the first four Tuesdays of the month from 5-7 p.m. Families can use the food pantry two times per month.
“This really helps our stock of food for the year,” he noted, “and supplements our regular efforts.”
by P. Carter Newton, publisher