It’s been a cold winter for homeless people in Collier County. But Boy Scout Michael Balcom hopes to change that with a gift to the homeless population, through his Eagle Scout Project. Collecting close to two hundred blankets so far from community donation programs, Balcom has rallied community members to bring blankets and monetary donations to care for those who were hit the hardest by today’s economy.
“I’m getting closer to my goal,” says Balcom with a smile, as he received donations at Lowe’s Home Improvement, along with thousands of boxes food donations through Alligator Council’s Annual Scouting for Food Drive.
“When we went to the Immokalee Friendship House for the first time, they said they needed blankets and sleeping bags more than anything else. They need more blankets, especially right now, because of the freeze, there’s even more people out of work from the farms,” Balcom adds about what inspired him to rally the community to donate blankets.
Balcom, who is a sophomore at Palmetto Ridge High School, is grateful for local organizations who covered his Eagle Scout efforts so far. “I’ve been working on the project for a year now, and I’m thankful to the Rotarians who meet at the Perkins on Pine Ridge Road. I also went to my 4-H Club for blankets, and I also made a big presentation to the Sugden Theater,” says Balcom, who often shares thespian talents in a variety of shows for Sugden Theater.
Balcom’s father, Ron, is looking forward to helping his son provide the special delivery to the Friendship House. “Blankets are nearly to the ceiling in our spare bedroom,” Balcom’s proud father says as he loads more blankets into a van.
For Balcom’s generous spirit and commitment to community efforts, Balcom was recognized as a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2009. Balcom dedicated over 350 hours of community service through his involvement in 4-H, Boy Scouts of America, and local charity events throughout the year.
Balcom hopes to see his blanket drive become a permanent part of the Annual Scouting for Food Drive in Collier County. Residents interested in donating blankets can call Balcom at 352-7323, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org