ANN ARBOR – Boy scouts with local Troop 4 collected funds and food for Food Gatherers on Monday amounting to the equivalent of 60,000 meals for hungry community members.
The annual food drive is in memory of Eagle Scout Tim Esch, who passed away several years ago at the age of 18 in a tragic car accident.
This was the 16th annual “Tim Esch Scouting for Food Birthday Party,” held on Tim’s birthday.
When he joined Troop 4 in fifth grade, Esch enjoyed participating in what was then the “Scouting for Food” drive, a door-to-door collection effort of non-perishable food.
After Esch passed away in 2005, his family and Troop 4 transformed the event to honor his life and service with the scouts.
Each year, Tim’s parents Jan and Dave Esch and his sister Julie serve cupcakes at the event in honor of his birthday. Their home is the drop off point for the food collected during the drive.
“Scouting for Food is a stepping stone for all the Scouts as they grow through their experiences,” Jan and Dave Esch in a statement.
The in-person food drive and post-drive celebration were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, so the troop shifted their operations online, generating record-breaking results. This year, the campaign continued online, but the scouts went back out into neighborhoods collecting food door-to-door following the latest safety guidelines.
“There is a feeling of having conquered the challenges and accomplished this important task, and hope that the summer will be better for everyone,” said the Esch family in a statement. “The online donations are astounding. But after a long winter of canceled activities and endless screen time, it was great to see the cans and boxes pile up—a tangible reminder of something ‘normal’ and hopeful.”
Each year, the troop’s chartering organization, First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor, supports the food drive.
The food and funds raised at the event will go toward supporting Food Gatherers’ 170 network partners that help relieve hunger throughout Washtenaw County.
“We are deeply honored to receive these donations made in memory of Tim Esch,” Food Gatherers President and CEO Eileen Spring said in a release. “For the last year and a half, more of our neighbors than ever before have faced food insecurity. The commitment of Troop 4 to continue to adapt to meet the needs of our community members makes a significant impact on the fight against hunger.”