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Scout project paves the way for annual summer food drive

The Somerset food drive filled the back of a truck with roughly 2,200 pounds of food that was donated to the Somerset Area Food Pantry.1 / 3
Boy Scout Tyler Kupczak (left) takes a donation at the first annual Somerset Food Drive on July 21 at the Royal Credit Union in Somerset. The drive, which was Kupczak's Eagle Scout Project, collected non-perishable food and paper items, and money for the Somerset Area Food Pantry.2 / 3
Tyler Kupczak unloads boxes of donated goods with the help of troop 144, Grace Place and Somerset Area Food Pantry workers.3 / 3

When he found out the Somerset Area Food Pantry ran dry in the summers, Boy Scout Tylper Kupczak decided to do something about it.

Kupczak planned an annual Somerset Food Drive as his Eagle Scout Project. The drive, held on July 21 in the Somerset Royal Credit Union parking lot, brought 2,200 pounds of food and $1,300 to the Somerset Area Food Pantry.

"It was definitely a rewarding feeling when we delivered the food," said Kupczak. "I couldn't stop smiling for a while."

The drive fell short of Kupczak's original goal of 6,000 pounds of food and $2,000 in monetary donations, but Kupczak said he is satisfied with the haul of the first annual Somerset Area Food Drive.

"All in all, this drive went really good," Kupczak said. "I think in the future we can do better."

Kupczak said the experience of having already accomplished one food drive will help smooth the way for next year's drive. Additionally, Kupczak ran this year's drive as it was his Eagle Scout Project, but next year the entire troop will be able to conduct the drive. Kupczak said next year the troop plans to allow more time for event preparation.

"I didn't know it would take like four days for a sign to get made," Kupczak said. "I didn't know that it would take a week or two to contact pretty much all the businesses around town."

Kupczak said the experience of planning and coordinating this year's food drive taught him a great deal.

Kupczak's father and Scoutmater Brad Kupczak said this year's drive has paved the way for future food drives.

"The ground has been laid for Somerset Scouting to conduct a summer food drive on an annual basis," said Brad Kupczak, "and assist Grace Place, the Salvation Army, and the food shelf in supporting those in our community that could use a helping hand making sure they have food on the table. Next year it may even coordinate with Pea Soup Days."

Tyler Kupczak said, all in all, he considers this year's food drive a successful first run.

"I thank everybody that helped out toward donating goods or services, whether it's businesses or people, to help make this food drive a success," he said.

Kupczak's Eagle Scout Project is under consideration by the Eagle Scout review board. He said he will find out more at the end of October.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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