AP NEWS

Teen collecting donations to aid homeless for Eagle Scout project

August 20, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — A Bullhead City teen with Scout Troop No. 104 in Fort Mohave is undertaking an Eagle Scout project intended to help area homeless people.

Jonathan Hess, who will turn 14 in October, is collecting new and gently used backpacks, bottled water and socks for the homeless. Distribution of these backpacks, filled with socks and water, for up to 200 people will be done through the Guardian Foundation in Bullhead City.

Hess is referring to his project as the “Guardian Drive” and he is handing out fliers that ask people to help with the project.

“The Eagle project has to fit the community,” said Hess, who is home-schooled and in the eighth grade. “The homeless don’t get a lot of care — but if we help them it will make a difference.”

People involved with the Guardian Foundation, a nonprofit group, have frequent contact with homeless people in Bullhead City, Laughlin and the Fort Mohave area. The group’s volunteers feed the homeless and, over food, chat and get to know them as individuals. These conversations help the volunteers determine what people living on the streets might need to help them change their lives for the better.

Five area establishments will be accepting donations during their normal operating hours. The final pickups will be on Sept. 9 at Lisa’s Bistro, 1595 Mohave Drive, Bullhead City; Bearded Gentleman Pub & Grill, 1884 Highway 95, Bullhead City; Elks Lodge No. 2408, 1745 Emerald Road, Bullhead City; Vito’s Pizza, 3751 Highway 95, Bullhead City; Mohave Valley United Methodist Church, 1593 Lipan Blvd., Fort Mohave.

“It’s his project and we’re staying out of his way until it’s time for him to present it to us,” said Robert Brandefine, the foundation’s resource manager. “I’m sure (Jonathan) wanted to target the two most important things we need — water and socks.”

People without shelter can have a hard time finding water. In a place where the nighttime temperatures won’t drop to 80 degrees anytime soon, staying properly hydrated is essential.

Brandefine and others who assist local homeless people say maintaining an adequate supply of bottled water to hand out can be difficult.

Clean, dry socks help people living on the street keep their feet in decent condition because good socks can prevent infection or blistering.

Hess’ parents will help him collect donations by driving him to each of the drop-off locations once a week to pick up donated items. Adults old enough to drive will help move the donations around.

An Eagle Scout project also requires the scout lead others in carrying out the project. Other scouts in Hess’ troop will help him fill the backpacks with socks and water before they are turned over to the Guardian Foundation.

He said the part of this project that might prove itself most challenging will be carrying the boxes.

“When the backpacks are full, the boxes will be a lot heavier,” Hess said.

That also would be a pretty good thing.

For information, call Hess at 928-897-2454.

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