Boy Scout leads Turkey Day drive

Local scout gathers food for Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry

Published On: Nov 22 2012 04:58:45 PM EST

A local Boy Scout is making a big difference in Jacksonville Beach this year.

When 14-year-old Jacob Whipple decided to do his Eagle Scout project at the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry, BEAM, he had no idea the outpour of support he'd receive from the beaches community.

"I knew I was going to get a lot of food, my initial goal was 500 pounds," said Whipple. "We got 1,876 pounds of food and counting, we still have a couple bins set out and a couple bags waiting to be collected."

Whipple, who attends Sandalwood High School is in Boy Scout troop 917 and is working toward becoming an Eagle Scout. Whipple said he is not only proud of what he's accomplished for BEAM, but what his fellow troop members did to help him exceed his collection goal.

"Everybody who participated in the project was like wow, when we were out collecting we filled up the back of a truck and two other cars. It was just a massive amount of food to handle," said Whipple.

That food will go far this holiday season. All the goods in the BEAM pantry goes toward helping families in crisis. Just last year BEAM provided for 18,000 people.

"We had over 500 baskets donated for the Thanksgiving giveaway and Jacob was a big part in providing food for those families," said BEAM's Executive Director Susan King.

Whipple only hopes other scouts will follow his lead, and choose to help BEAM for their eagle scout projects in the future.

"This has gotten me interested in doing this work and I could help other scouts who are interested in doing their eagle project. I'd like to thank the people who helped me make the is possible," said Whipple. "It is rewarding and it is an honor."