Prospective Eagle Scout builds neighborhood food pantry at Schaumburg church

A prospective Eagle Scout’s project has enabled Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Schaumburg to turn its long tradition of a Lenten food drive into a year-round effort through the construction of a “Little Neighborhood Food Pantry” on the church grounds.

Scout Kyle Collins of Roselle, a senior at Lake Park High School, made the pantry last fall as he also rebuilt the walls of the church’s garbage enclosure.

Prospective Eagle Scout Kyle Collins of Roselle, a senior at Lake Park High School, built a “Little Neighborhood Food Pantry” for Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Schaumburg. Courtesy of Dave Collins

The pantry was officially dedicated on Sunday, but already has provided a full winter of service to Lord of Life Church, 119 W. Wise Road, and the people of the community it serves, the Rev. Rebekah Weant said.

“This was Kyle’s idea,” she said. “We saw that as a possibility and saw that as a way to connect to one of our guiding principles, which is to combat hunger. The council embraced it and Kyle went further with it.”

One of the paths to an Eagle badge is to help an institution on an identified issue, Weant added.

“He actually began stocking it,” she said.

Kyle Collins of Roselle, left, works on his “Little Neighborhood Food Pantry” for Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Schaumburg with his dad, Dave, center. Courtesy of Kyle Collins

Kyle said he acquired the construction experience for the projects from earlier work on picnic benches, planters and other undertakings.

“I saw that this would help out the community and church,” he said. “I think it has been really embraced. People have been taking as they need. I hope it keeps stocked and that people who are in need will continue to receive food from the pantry.”

Weant said that in the past the church has collected food for larger pantries in the area. But Kyle’s pantry helps the church be a little more self-sufficient in its service mission.

“We’ve been surprised how quickly the pantry took off,” she said. “We didn’t advertise it.”

Prospective Eagle Scout Kyle Collins, left, and his father Dave install the newly completed “Little Neighborhood Food Pantry” at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Schaumburg last fall. Courtesy of Kyle Collins

Kyle’s father, Dave, said the use of the pantry has been respectful by those in need, among whom are recent migrants from the Texas border who have found more permanent housing in the community.

Kyle expects to receive word about his Eagle badge before his high school graduation. He plans to attend Iowa State University to study computer engineering, then may return to Scouting as an adult leader.

As for the pantry, Weant said there already is some brainstorming of how to expand on the service it provides.

Ideas include stronger solicitation of toiletry donations to go with the nonperishable food items already being collected, and an occasional stand where the Schaumburg Community Garden Club could offer produce it grows on the church property.

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