Boy Scouts, Cubs compel community to donate
Fort Meade Scouts haul 2,300 pounds of food in annual drive
By Joyce P. Brayboy
Boy Scout Troop 379 and 377 started knocking on doors just before 10 a.m. and continued until 2 p.m. Cub Scout Pack 377 was stationed at the commissary from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., collecting nonperishable food and toiletry items.
"We couldn't have achieved the results we did without the Fort Meade community," said Lisa Yetman, one of the adult organizers for Boy Scout Troop 377. "This year's giving topped that of last year. It starts our 100th anniversary off with a huge bang."
The food drive commemorated, for the local troops and pack, scouting's centennial anniversary on Feb. 8, said Wendall Lawrence, scoutmaster for Troop 379. While most think of a food drive at Christmas or Thanksgiving, this drive celebrated the birth of scouting. Scouts consider local needs and also hold a commemorative Blue and Gold feast around this time to celebrate their accomplishments.
Post leaders such as Maj. Gen. J. Michael Bednarek, commander of First Army Division East, gave the young Scouts more than food. As he brought canned goods from his pantry to fill a Scout's plastic bag, Bednarek encouraged the youngster to stick with the scouting program, drawing from his own experience that led him close to scouting's top rank. Bednarek was just a couple of merit badges shy of the coveted Eagle honor when he left scouting, a regret he shared.
"Scouting is a great institution," said Richard Fulmer, equipment management branch chief for the Fort Meade Medical and Dental Activity. "I can't think of a better cause than taking care of basic items for people in need."
Fulmer heard the Cub Scouts chant, "Cub Scouts taking donations for Sarah's House" from the commissary parking lot. The young boys were yelling and holding signs up high for shoppers to see.
"I think it gives them an opportunity to gain confidence speaking to adults," said Chief Petty Officer Robert McCoy of Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, who is assistant scoutmaster for Troop 379. "The boys are at the door knocking, and what they are asking for is on someone else's behalf -- not for themselves."
The service organization teaches the boys the true value of service, he said. His son Logan has been scouting since he was a first-grader, McCoy said.
"He doesn't know it, but I have as much fun as he does," the chief petty officer said. "I was injured as a Cub Scout and didn't get to go forward. When I had a son, allowing him to join the Boy Scouts seemed like the right thing to do."
Scouting for Food was started in 1988 by the national Boy Scouts of America to address hunger, which the BSA identified on its Web site as "one of four intolerable national situations."
In many areas of the country, including the Washington metropolitan area, Scouting for Food brings in more than one million pounds of food. Collected food is redistributed locally through food banks and similar organizations, such as Sarah's House, a transitional housing program on Fort Meade for homeless families.
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