By: Guest Blogger and Boy Scout Troop 600 Leader, Cole Sevier
The Bellevue LifeSpring Youth Council has made it their mission this summer to fight hunger in Bellevue. From collecting food to collecting coins – they have been working hard to help support Bellevue children in need.
Recently, they teamed up with Boy Scout Troop 600 to collect and deliver nine pallets of food – over 6,000 items – to the Bellevue School District! This donation came at a crucial point when the food supply was running low at the school district’s Family Connection Centers. Partnerships like this show us the strength of our community and the impact that can happen by inspiring others to take action.
Senior Patrol Leader, Cole Sevier, shares his story and what inspired him to organize his scouts around the cause:
My mom and I were walking in the neighborhood when I noticed a box labeled ‘food donations’ for Bellevue LifeSpring’s Youth Council on her friend, Balwinder Kaur’s, front porch. She told me that they are a group of students from Bellevue who have been doing fundraising and volunteering to help their peers who may be in need.
My name is Cole Sevier and I am currently the Senior Patrol Leader for Bellevue Troop 600. Leading the scouts through this unique period of social distancing has created new challenges to keep our 40 active scouts connected to our core principle of “Do a Good Turn Daily.”
Our summer camps, merit badge fairs and outdoor adventures had all been canceled and we had a lot of undirected energy for action. To multiply the number of people who could access that box and engage the scouts in a safe, socially distanced philanthropy, the idea of joining the Bellevue LifeSpring Youth Council’s food drive took shape. Our troop has experienced the generosity of our community through our annual tree recycling fundraiser for Christmas trees, so I figured we could go door-to-door for this as well.
I first approached Andrew, a manager at Trader Joe’s in Bellevue, to donate 600 paper bags for distribution to the scouts in the troop. I designed a flyer based on Bellevue LifeSpring’s suggested donations and attached one to each bag. The scouts were trained to wear a mask, knock on the door of their neighbors and stand well away from the door. If neighbors were willing to put some items in the bag, the scouts would leave it on the doorstep and come back at an agreed time and date. Everyone seemed to have at least heard of Bellevue LifeSpring, so they were very receptive.
To extend our efforts, an email was created that scouts could send to other friends and family. Sometimes we were given cash donations for Bellevue LifeSpring and Trader Joe’s and QFC donated a gift card and items for the cause. People kept commenting on how thankful they were to have the opportunity to give. It seemed as if they wanted to do something but often didn’t know how and then we showed up and knocked on their doors.
I continued to encourage the scouts throughout the three weeks by sharing new ideas to reach people and the good news on the food collected to date. We had some amazing individuals like Vincent Humphrey, Alex Pyrah, Jonny Schultz, Alex Ma, Nicholas Davila and Zachary and Mattie Lien, who embraced the opportunity to serve. When we had our troop’s consolidation drop, they were excited to see the mountain of bags and all they had accomplished. The troop collected about 6,000 items and over $700 for children and families supported by Bellevue LifeSpring.
Seven packed vehicles transported the collections to the school district’s food distribution center. The troop later received word from Melissa Slater, the head of the Family Engagement Specialist counselors for the Bellevue School District, that the food drive was able to supply the three Family Connection Centers from the Bellevue School District with enough food to distribute to families in need for the next three to four weeks! Melissa shared, “I am THRILLED about the food donation! This delivery was timed perfectly. The three schools providing support for our low-income families were running low on food. This donation was exactly what they needed and when they needed it most.”
When Troop 600 started this food drive three weeks ago, I did not realize what a significant “just in time” impact we were going to make. Now that the food has been delivered to families in need, in my mind, I see every door we knocked on and every email we sent as individual lines connecting back to that Bellevue LifeSpring Youth Council box on Ms. Balwinder’s front porch.
The scouts in Troop 600 are pretty amazing. It has been an honor and a pleasure to be their Senior Patrol Leader.
Troop 600 is an active, youth-led troop with a long tradition of building character, leadership and citizenship in young men here in Bellevue for over 60 years.
If you are looking for ways to help those in need in our community, please contact Bellevue LifeSpring Youth Council at BLSYOUTHCOUNCIL@GMAIL.COM. The Youth Council is currently collecting non-perishable food items and coins to buy food items for the Bellevue families in need.