Identifying a need: Woodleaf teen dedicates Eagle Scout service project to area food pantry

Published 12:10 am Saturday, August 26, 2023

WOODLEAF — While there are roughly one million members of Scouts BSA, only four percent will obtain the organization’s highest honor — Eagle Scout. One young man in Troop 320 in Woodleaf is set to join the esteemed group, and his service project is proving to have a significant impact.

Brock Saine is only 15 years old. He might not be able to drive alone, but he has been coordinating a massive food donation drive for the South River Methodist’s food pantry this summer and has already collected more than 1,300 pounds of food. The drive is for his Eagle Scout Service Project, the final step to obtaining the coveted recognition.

Saine set up donation bins at various locations around the western part of Rowan County by enlisting the help of local community organizations and departments.

“We had a donation drive-through at South River on June 25,” Saine said. “We have put out donation bins at West Rowan elementary, middle and high schools to collect food. We have donation bins at Cleveland Fire Department, Scotch Irish Fire Department, and a donation box at Scotch Ireland Masonic Lodge and Woodleaf Civitans.”

“The project is not all about you,” Saine said. “You have to be the leader and (guide) everybody on what to do and how to do it. You organize meetings, send emails and make phone calls. It’s not just you doing the project. You have to involve the whole group and a bunch of people.”

Doing a project on this scale seemed daunting for Saine.

“I was very nervous about doing it, but now that I am getting more and more into it, I have seen that it is not as hard as I thought it was going to be, but it is definitely still hard,” Saine said.

For the young teen who admits that he has not always been a great public speaker, presenting to the organizations took a lot of work.

“(There is) a lot of public speaking going to present everywhere that I went to ask to have bins put out,” Saine said. “Public speaking is definitely something that I have had to work at. I’m getting better at it, though.”

He persevered for the sake of the project and has come a long way in his outreach abilities with others.

When selecting a service project, Saine landed on the South River United Methodist Church food pantry because its mission stood out to him.

“I have seen the good that his mission does in the community and how many families that it helps (so) I thought it would be a good project,” Saine said. “The food pantry feeds about 1,500 people a year, so I kind of have an idea of what the impact will look like.

Saine learned about the food pantry through Mike Aistrop, who runs the food pantry. Aistrop was a custodian at Woodleaf Elementary, where Saine went to school before it was torn down.

“I saw him every morning,” Saine said. “He was just a nice guy, and I knew that he ran the food pantry.”

Throughout the process, Saine discovered something about himself.

“I’ve learned that I like leading,” Saine said. “It’s a hard thing to do. It’s not easy to organize people to get together and complete.”

Saine’s efforts are nearing the end of the project, but he has organized a final hoorah. During Cleveland’s monthly Dancing on Depot Street event, he will collect items at a booth near the Scotch Ireland Masonic Lodge.

Saine is requesting canned food, nonperishable items, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other personal items.

Dancing on Depot Street begins at 6 p.m. Earlier in the day, Saine will also be at the Cleveland Food Lion from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., where he will also collect items.