Two teenage parishioners seeking donations for Eagle Scout projects

Two Boy Scouts from the Basilica of Saint Mary’s Troop 301 are hoping you can assist them achieve the rank of Eagle Scout and help others in our area. Christopher Cowardin and Erik Kessmeier will be speaking about their Eagle Scout projects after the Masses on the weekend of August 18. Scouts will then be collecting donations to benefit the respective causes after the Masses on the weekend of August 25.

Christopher Cowardin

Christopher’s project will benefit the Returning Home Backpack Program, a service of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington that helps the formerly incarcerated.

Life for an ex-offender can be very difficult. It is hard to gain employment and housing with a criminal record. There is often very little family or community support available to these men and women as they transition back into our community. One of the many ways that Catholic Charities offers support is to provide backpacks to those leaving jail. They contain toiletries and other needed survival items. We also include hand-written welcome notes, religious materials, and a gift card for the recipient.

Scouts will be accepting backpack donations after the Masses on the weekend of August 25. Please fill the backpack with any of these items: a hand written encouragement card, one towel, one wash cloth, deodorant, shampoo, lotion, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, non-aerosol shaving cream, three pairs of socks, gift card for a store (Safeway or Walmart), notebook, pen, wallet, bus pass/SMART card, small calendar, ball cap, etc. The backpacks should be tagged for men or women. Appropriate underwear and feminine hygiene products for women are appreciated.

Click here to read more about the program and view a full list of needed items. 

Erik Kessmeier

Erik’s project is a toy drive for Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. Last year, the hospital served more than 219,000 children. These donations will be given to patients and family members during their hospital visit to provide comfort, offer distractions, and to normalize the hospital setting.

Scouts will be accepting toy donations after the Masses on the weekend of August 25. Donated items must be new, in-season, and not gift wrapped. Some of the items immediately needed include UNO cards and playing cards, infant and toddler toys, activities for adolescents (13+ games, craft kits, coloring books, journals, sketch pads), blankets, books for all ages, bubbles, coloring supplies, dolls, Fisher Price Little People®, gift cards, headphones/earbuds, kid-friendly DVDs and Xbox/Playstation games, LEGOs, and toy cars/trucks.

The hospital cannot accept items that are used, breakable, food/formula, latex, medical equipment, stuffed toys taller than 18 inches, or contain sensitive issues (e.g. violence, politics, holidays, religion, death, divorce, weapons, etc.)

The full toy list is available here from the Children’s National Hospital. 

If you are unable to bring your donation to one of the Masses on the weekend of August 25, please bring it to the parish office (313 Duke Street). 

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