By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Troop 101 Boy Scout Brandon Lu’s Eagle Scout project idea was sparked by a late-night trip to the gym with friends.
An Algonquin Regional High School senior, Lu and his friends were chatting in the parking lot when they saw a woman drive up, enter the building and return to her car with towels.
“Chances were that she was homeless and living in her car,” said Lu. “Having a membership at a 24-hour gym provided her with a shower, towels and some necessities.”
Inspired by that sight, Lu held a collection, Jan. 23-24, for items to keep people warm who may be homeless or unable to access ideal accommodations.
Lu partnered with the Northborough Food Pantry in this project.
Effort produces successful food drive
Lu’s drive for donations was a major success.
Lu estimated that he pulled in 90 blankets, 40 pairs of socks and 30 hats, in addition to hand warmers. He collected food donations and $620 in monetary contributions to directly benefit the food pantry.
He is in awe of the generosity.
“I had a car full of donations for the food pantry,” Lu said.
Some of the donations may be shared with area food pantries, such as Marlborough.
Long scouting journey leads to food drive
Lu started his scouting journey with the encouragement of friends. Now, he’s excited to have signed up.
“Boy Scouts is a pretty fun program because you are thrown into a ton of different experiences you wouldn’t have the opportunity to do otherwise,” he said.
Outside his personal experience, Lu has observed Boy Scouts change as an organization and an experience during the pandemic. Weekly meetings now take place on Zoom. When Scouts pledge allegiance at the start of those meetings, they do so facing virtual flag backgrounds instead of a physical flag. Badges and advancements also take place remotely, now.
Lu has sympathy for new Scouts just starting their journeys with this kind of experience. The focus has been on what the troop is able to do. The newer Scouts haven’t been able to experience planning for trips and group activities yet.
That’s a notable loss.
“Camping trips have always been the highlight of every scouting activity,” Lu said. “It’s fun to go on a trip with your friends and be able to hang out with them.”
Food drive marks a step towards the future
The Boy Scouts of America defines the Eagle Scout project as one which takes leadership skills — skills that scouts develop over years as part of the program. Having completed his project, Lu’s next step involves getting approval from the Eagle Scout Board of Review.
Outside scouting, Lu plans on majoring in Computer Science in college and is ready for the next chapter of his life.
Regardless, though, he will always remember the generosity of his hometown.
“There are people who want to help the community,” he said “I am thankful for the donations that were received in a short timeframe. It was really heart-warming; a great thing.”
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