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Funkstown Scouts shop for Toys for Tots

December 15, 2012|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Henry, Charlie, Jacob and Anthony Pence shop for toys at Walmart on Saturday.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Seventeen boys. Fifty dollars each. Aisles full of toys.

And ... go!

Members of Funkstown Cub Scout Pack 23 and Boy Scout Troop 23 hit the shelves Saturday afternoon at Walmart on Garland Groh Boulevard, snatching up four carts full of the toys they like best. Then, in a flurry of excitement and a novel twist, they gave them away.

Pack 23 Cubmaster Don Harriman said the pack and Troop 23 financed the project with excess funds from a popcorn sale along with a contribution from Funkstown American Legion Post 211. Walmart agreed to partner with the group, and some of the Scouts’ parents gave monetary donations, bringing the dollar value of purchased toys to more than $1,000.

“This is about helping out children,” Harriman said. “This is the first year we’ve done this. Now, we plan to do it every year.”

Marines addressed the young men before they began shopping, telling them the greatest need for toys was among children ages 7 to 12. Harriman said that “worked perfectly,” as Cub Scouts range in age from 6 to 10 and Boy Scouts from 11 to 18. The project taught lessons both practical and humanitarian, he said.

“They needed to use math to keep their spending under a certain amount. And they learned about being charitable, about giving to other children who need help here in Washington County,” he said.

The parade of young men grinned and leaned into their carts for strength and speed as they transported the piles of goods from the store to a vehicle waiting curbside. Bob Glausier of the Antietam Detachment Marine Corps League and Toys for Tots said the Funkstown troop and pack were the only Scouts he knew of to make such a contribution.

Mason Dixon Council President Bill Hofmann said he hoped the effort would start a trend.

“It’s great initiative on the part of the troop and pack to step forward and do something like this,” he said.

Michael Smith of Hagerstown accompanied his son, Charlie Smith, 7.

“It gives kids an awareness that when you are given something, you should give something back,” Smith said.

Dustin Worton, 13, of Hagerstown, said he bought toys that he would like to get.

“I tried to choose smaller things so we could give things to more kids,” he said. “I think the kids will be happy. Getting stuff like this from people who care might be one of the best feelings.”

Dustin’s brother, Leo Worton, 8, said he shopped with an additional $20 that his parents gave him. His buys included Candy Land, Legos and stuffed animals.  

“It made me feel happy because it goes to kids whose families can’t get stuff for Christmas,” he said. “It was hard to pick items they’ll like on a budget without going over.”

Tammy Worton said the project was a great way to teach her boys to give.

“It’s the idea that, ‘It’s not about what I get. It’s about the good feeling from giving to other people,’” she said.

Connor Ceci, 9, of Hagerstown, said he felt “excited to shop for kids that couldn’t wake up to a bunch of presents on Christmas morning.”

“The pack split our money so we could all have our own little shopping spree. I bought a Spider-Man toy because lots of kids like superheroes. And I bought Legos because I like them and I think other kids might like to try them,” he said.

Connor jumped in the back of the SUV, arranging Star Wars toys, Yahtzee and Barbies so they would fit as other Scouts loaded them in.

“I was thinking these kids are probably gonna be happy to have presents under their tree from people who donated,” he said. “It made me feel good. I’d like to do it again.”

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