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Troop 31 Scouts and adult leaders help sort items from the food shipments in Van Wert.

Servitude, Selflessness, Scouting in Van Wert County

ABOVE: Helping others in action recently with Troop 31 Scouts helping sort items from the food shipments.
In mid-March, Scouts BSA boys Troop 31 and girls Troop 31G help with food distributions in Van Wert.

The perfect storm of school closures, quarantined citizens, and social distancing has made obtaining food a high priority for all people around Ohio. This is no different in Van Wert County.

“The food shipments we are receiving are providing emergency food bags for students out of school and quarantined residents that are unable to go to the store,” said Vicki Smith, Executive Director of the United Way of Van Wert County.

“The call originally came from the United Way to our chartered organization, First United Methodist Church. They were asking for help with unloading the trucks,” said Greg Amstutz, Committee Chairman for Scouts BSA Troop 31. Once Greg received the request from his church he knew exactly how to help. “I thought this would be a perfect way for my Scouts to help and we volunteered our services right away.”

So, Greg mobilized his unit, deploying them on every Tuesday to unload food from the trucks and build the pallets back up in the gymnasium.  

Both Scouts BSA Troops, consisting of both male and female Scouts respectively, have unloaded four trucks, helped make food bags, and totaled 141 hours of service thus far. Director Smith acknowledged the help is appreciated and is a great service, “This is manual labor, physically unloading food, moving pallets, and then reassembling this food for packing and distribution to residents.”

Throughout the history of the Boy Scouts of America, Scouts have always answered the bell in crisis. According to the Museum of the American GI, “Scouts sold over 2 million Liberty Bonds during World War I, collected fruit pits to be processed into charcoal for gas masks, and helped inventory black walnut trees for use as propellers and gun stocks.”

Greg understands this is an entirely different fight we are all facing right now but believes this is what Scouting is all about. “This amounts to living out the Scout Oath and Law, and being prepared to serve and help those in your community. We are providing manpower during a time of shortage and helping out an agency that supports Scouting.”

The safety of these Scouts and all the volunteers are of the utmost important to the United Way, especially during a time when social distancing is of high priority. Director Smith has put measures in place to make sure everyone is a safe as possible, “We are screening all of the volunteers when they come in, allowing only a group of 10 individuals to volunteer at a time, and are making sure we maintain the minimum six feet of distance between each other.”

Averaging 6 to 7 Scouts and a few adults per assignment, the Troops will continue to do what is asked of them, “We are prepared, from our adult leaders to our Scouts, we are here to help.”

If you'd like to learn more about joining Scouting in your community, go to www.BeAScout.org to find a group near you!

Black Swamp Area Council
2100 Broad Avenue, Findlay Ohio
(419) 422-4356