Graham Jackson went on a shopping trip recently with his mother, but the trip wasn’t to buy gifts for himself, but to buy presents to donate to a needy family during the holiday season.
Jackson, who is 6 years old, is a Tiger Cub with Cub Scout Pack 41 of Hickory Grove Baptist Church of Clinton. For the last 11 years, members of this pack have donated to help grandchildren who are being raised by their grandparents have a good Christmas.
When asked why it was important to give to others, the Cub Scout had a simple answer.
“Because you are helping other people. It’s part of God’s plan.”
According to Lesia Henderson, Family Caregiver Support Program specialist with the Department of Aging, Pack 41 has donated items to assist the Family Caregiver Support Program for more than a decade. This year, the pack was able to adopt five grandchildren.
“This has been a great partnership,” Henderson said about the relationship between the pack and the department. “The cub scouts are vital in our communities and I am truly thankful that I have the opportunity to work with them.”
Jackson had the opportunity to go shopping for items and then wrap them himself. The youngster said shopping for someone who is in need makes him feel good.
“It made me feel good and helpful and kind, like a Cub Scout,” Jackson explained.
Pack leader Shelia Bryant became a part of the scout program 16 years ago, when her son started as a Tiger and eventually earned his Eagle Scout rank in 2010. Each year, she explained, the pack likes to give to the Family Caregiver Support Program and make a difference in the community.
“We try to teach our boys ‘it’s better to give than receive’ and what a better way than to be able to get Christmas presents for the grandchildren,” Bryant said. “As they are excited about getting presents, we also make them aware that everyone is not as fortunate as they are they should be thankful for all they do have.”
According to Henderson, each year the boys deliver their gifts to the Sampson County Department of Aging after the Christmas parade.
“I look forward to seeing them,” Henderson shared. “Adam Bryant was the first Cub Scout that went on and obtained his Eagle Scout status with the Sampson County Department of Aging ‘Soup for Seniors’ as his project. That was very impressive that this program made such an impact on him he wanted it to be his Eagle Scout project.”
Being a member of a Cub Scout Pack, Bryant said the leaders across the country try to teach each pack member the importance of giving back.
“To us and the Boy Scouts of America, we try to teach the boys to leave it better than you found it,” Bryant explained. “By doing this we hope to instill in their minds and hearts so they will remember how helping others is important and we want to leaver our community a better place.”
Pack 41 began giving back in 2004 by adopting a grandparent. From there, Bryant said the program touched her son’s heart and the pack decided to adopt a grandparent every year. Her son then decided to do his Eagle Scout project “Soup for Seniors” and collected over 1,500 cans of soup for Sampson County seniors.
Now, the pack gives back, and the 23 young men, along with their parents, adopt a family each year at Christmas.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.