Tooele, UTAH – They did not get to see the joy on the faces of the people they helped to feed, but just knowing that their sacrifice and hours of service helped to feed 1000 people was enough to put smiles on the faces of 75 Boy Scouts who are members of the National Honor Society of the BSA.
Members of the El Ku Ta Lodge of the Order of the Arrow (www.ElKuTaLodge.com) gave up their evening for three nights before Thanksgiving 2017. Instead of playing computer games, watching television, or even doing homework, these dedicated young men helped prepare food for 1000 people.
This was the thirteenth year of what is known as the Thanksgiving Project, and this was the biggest year yet. The rural community of Tooele, about a 30 minute drive west of Salt Lake City, is the home of Chad Fullmer, the owner of many Denny’s restaurants in the state, and each year he gives back by organizing a project to provide free meals to the needy and the shut-ins in his community.
A project that large is not something that can be done without a great deal of help, and the help comes in many forms. Customers at the Tooele Denny’s donate money for weeks before the big day to help pay for the food, and there are plenty of volunteers to help prepare and cook the food.
In addition to the Order of the Arrow Scouts, the Cub Scout Community Pack, and the Life’s Worth Living Foundation, a suicide prevention group, provided many helping hands. Early on Thanksgiving morning the food is cooked at Denny’s, the local Dominos Pizza, and at the Tooele Applied Technology College, according to Blair Hope, the Order of the Arrow lodge adviser for the El Ku Ta Lodge (www.ElKuTaLodge.com).
“What Chad has done to feed so many people each year is just amazing. He brings together the whole community to help find the people who can benefit from the meals, and to prepare, cook, and then deliver the meals on Thanksgiving Day. It’s an honor to be a part of this,” said Hope.
“We are grateful to have this opportunity to give our Scouts the chance to feel the joy that comes from giving service to others without anything in return. They don’t even get to see the people who receive the meals, but every one of those boys went home feeling good about what they did to bring this about,” he added.
The members of the Order of the Arrow are considered the cream of the crop of the Boy Scouts, with less than one percent of all Scouts receiving the honor of being elected to be a part of this prestigious group. Members of the OA meet monthly with an adviser to learn leadership skills, and to participate in acts of service.