ANN ARBOR, Mich. – An annual food drive by Ann Arbor Boy Scout Troop 4 has collected funds for Food Gatherers that will provide 127,000 meals.
The funds will support Food Gatherers’ COVID-19 response and programs within Washtenaw County as community partners report a significant rise in food insecurity.
For 15 years, the troop has hosted the “Tim Esch Scouting for Food Birthday Party” in honor of Eagle Scout Tim Esch as part of the food drive. Esch was a member of Troop 4 who died at age 18 in 2005 from an automotive accident.
Each year the annual food drive collects donations and non-perishable foods by going door-to-door. On average, the troop collects 2,000 pounds of food each year.
This year Troop 4 hosted the drive virtually and asked for monetary donations. Through generous gift-matching by a community donor, the drive raised an amount equivalent of 127,000 meals -- the highest amount Troop 4 has gathered.
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“It was really fun for the boys,” said Jan Esch, mother of Tim Esch in a statement, “just like they watched the cans go into the boxes, they were able to watch the numbers grow online, and they got more and more excited every week.”
In addition to collecting food, the drive is also a chance to celebrate Esch, who participated in the annual “Scouting for Food” drive as a scout and was active in the troop throughout high school. To honor him, the food drive is done on the weekend of his birthday.
“I think a lot of our donors were generous and excited about being able to participate because they knew that Food Gatherers has been working like crazy and that the demand has gone up so much,” said Jan. “It’s that same kind of feeling of, we can’t stop the bad stuff but here’s something good we can do.”
According to Food Gatherers, its partners have reported an increase between 30% and 300% in the demand for food assistance. The funds raised through the drive will help Food Gatherers continue its mission to alleviate hunger within Washtenaw County.