Scouts with Troop 109 for boys and Troop 901 for girls recently came together to prepare 500 grilled chicken dinners with the Transforming Lives for Christ Feeding Ministry of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Valrico.

Scouts with Troop 109 for boys and Troop 901 for girls recently came together to prepare 500 grilled chicken dinners with the Transforming Lives for Christ Feeding Ministry of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Valrico.

“It was a combination of the leadership and the Scouts,” Michele Rudacille, the troops’ charter organization representative, said. “They were grilling chicken quarters, and some of the girls were helping make mashed potatoes.”

Scouts wore masks to protect both their peers and the patrons of their cookout. Sixty percent of the population of West Central Florida is eligible to receive food stamps, according to Feeding Tampa Bay, and the ongoing pandemic and economic strain have only exacerbated food insecurity for vulnerable populations.

According to Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, its TLC Feeding Ministry “provides nourishing hot meals to those in need in the Brandon, Valrico and Dover areas of Eastern Hillsborough County.” The units’ leadership said it’s a mission the youth are very passionate about.

“It’s just so very encouraging. It’s something they’re eager to do,” Rudacille said. “They like to put action to things they care about, and helping others is something all of them care about.”

Holy Innocents’ Epsicopal Church serves as the chartering organization for both troops. The boys’ troop currently hosts 27 registered youth. As a newer unit, the girls’ troop has 11 and is growing quickly, according to the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council.

The Boy Scouts of America announced that it would begin allowing all-girl units in its traditional program, Scouts BSA, in February of 2019. Troop 901 for girls was among the first to charter within that same month, joining their companion Troop 109 for boys, according to local District Executive Clarissa Castillo of the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council.

“We could not be prouder of the boys and girls in Troops 109 and 901,” Castillo said. “Cheerful service is one of the most important tenets of the Scouting program, and we are privileged to see our young men and women practice it every day.”