Life Scout Jack B. of Troop 976 in Falls Church, VA, knew he wanted to help out the homeless for his Eagle Scout project. He reached out to the Father McKenna Center in D.C. to see if they needed help and he was able to build new shelves and hold a food drive to fill them! We sat down with Jack to learn more about this Eagle Scout project.
What inspired or motivated you to begin this project?
The project was at the Father McKenna Center, which is a homeless shelter that is located at the school that I go to, Gonzaga High School. I am in my second year as a sophomore there currently. It is a Catholic high school run by Jesuits located in downtown D.C. near Union Station, composed of students from around the D.C. area. The Father McKenna Center is the only high-school run homeless shelter in the US. I was motivated to begin this project because I had just learned about the Father McKenna Center in my freshman year, and I came across an opportunity to do an Eagle Scout project there. I met with the beneficiary of the McKenna Center, and I was given several options for an Eagle Scout project. I picked the option to design, build, and install two custom heavy duty shelves in the food pantry. After planning out the project, I also planned out a food drive to supply them with food.
What were the steps behind this project?
The first thing I did was fill out my Eagle Scout proposal, which is a form I needed to submit to a leader to be approved. On the form was what my project would be and the general idea of how I would do it. While filling it out, I had to plan out how I would build/assemble the shelves, so I worked with an experienced adult to figure out the lengths of wood, how we could cut it, and how it would be put together, and measured out the spaces where the shelves were to go. After it was approved, I continued to work on the plans, and I also planned out the food drive. When it was time to assemble the shelves, I went and bought the materials and then gathered volunteers to help assemble the shelves and bring them to the McKenna center. In the following weeks, I worked on the food drive, and sorted all the food by the fourth week. I then brought the gathered food back to the center and helped put it on the shelves.
What was the most difficult aspect of this project?
The most difficult aspect of the project was planning out the building of the shelves. It was difficult to get the accurate dimensions, and we were also assembling it in a restricted space. Before the project, I had to get the measurements of the places where we were going to put the shelves, but the floor was not even, so it was difficult getting the correct measurements there. I even messed up on one of the measurements on one of the final shelves, so we had to fix it. While assembling the shelves, we were also restricted in building it a little, since we assembled parts of the shelves at the McKenna Center.
What was your favorite aspect of this project?
My favorite aspect of the project was working with the volunteers to bring the shelves to the McKenna center. It was relieving when I was done with the planning phase of the project, and we were just bringing the shelves to the destination. The volunteers consisted of my friends, so it was nice to do that.
What did you learn from completing this project?
I learned about leadership and planning from completing the project, I learned about interaction with adults, as well as how to plan out a project fully so that there are minimal problems. I also learned about cutting screwing, and measuring wood and the different types of lumber. I mostly learned about carpentry and how to use the different techniques and tools to build the projects.