Boys Scouts and Basilica collect donations for Returning Home Backpack Program and Children’s National Hospital

Two Boy Scouts from the Basilica of Saint Mary’s Troop 301 are equipped to help others in our area thanks to the generosity of the Basilica’s parish community. Christopher Cowardin and Erik Kessmeier spoke about their Eagle Scout projects after the Masses on the weekend of August 18 and then collected donations the following weekend to benefit their respective causes.

Christopher’s project will help the formerly incarcerated as they transition back into society. He solicited contributions for the Returning Home Backpack Program, a service of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. He received 84 backpacks that will be stuffed with donated essentials like gift cards, toiletries, underwear and towels. One of the ways Catholic Charities assists the formerly incarcerated is to provide these backpacks to them as they leave jail. Christopher additionally received more than $1,000 in donations to support the project.

Erik conducted a toy drive for Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. After collecting toy donations and using $800 in cash contributions to purchase more toys, Erik finished his project with over 600 toys. The toys will be given to patients and family members during their hospital visit to provide comfort, offer distractions, and normalize the hospital setting. Last year, the hospital served more than 219,000 children.

Christopher and Erik thank the parishioners from the Basilica of Saint Mary for supporting their projects.

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