Eagle Scout goes ‘above and beyond’ stocking school pantries in MillcreekSep 09, 2020 01:45PM ● By Heather Lawrence
Anton Goodick, a freshman at Cyprus High School, spent his summer vacation working on his Eagle Scout project and building up the school pantry at James E. Moss Elementary. (Photo courtesy Sophia DiCaro)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
Anton Goodick, a 14-year-old from West Valley City, knew he wanted his Eagle Scout project to make a difference. When COVID hit in the spring, he learned that in Granite School District many families relied on school pantries. Working with the Granite Education Foundation, he made and stocked pantry shelves for two Millcreek elementary schools.
“I talked to Kim Oborn at the Granite Education Foundation in June. She said that two schools in the Millcreek area, James E. Moss and Mill Creek Elementary, really needed their school pantries, but they were almost empty,” Anton said.
The principals, Judith Kissell and Ann Kane, relied on the pantries not just for food, but for other materials. Clothes, shoes, backpacks and family food kits for the weekend, are all supplies that help kids and families who are food insecure.
“The GEF buys used shelving that they use for school pantries. It looks like grocery store shelves, so it feels like the kids are shopping. They needed someone to assemble it. So I organized cub scouts, my friends in Troop No. 34, family and friends to help. We assembled shelves, collected donations of money and supplies and organized everything for the schools,” Anton said.
Anton started the project in July. The financial goal was to raise $2,000 for each school’s pantry. Mill Creek met their goal, but they are still taking donations for James E. Moss Elementary.
Anton’s dad, Rob Goodick, and his mom, Sophia DiCaro, also helped. They connected with Utah Rep. Stephanie Pitcher and Rep. Mark Wheatley, who supported and promoted the effort.
“As a parent, to see this need just grabs your heart. It’s not just the student at school who is food insecure—these kids have younger siblings. The weekend kits for grab and go have diapers, rice, everything a family will need over the weekend,” Rob Goodick said.
Goodick said he gets emotional when he thinks of what his son learned and how he did it.
“I was with Anton every minute, and he handled it so well. All the media, the fundraising, working with the principals—everything. There were over 251 volunteer hours on this project, so much to coordinate, and the principals were just blown away at how good a kid could be. When I see him be selfless like this and think of what he’s doing for others, it’s a big deal,” Goodick said.
Anton, who just finished eighth grade at Matheson Jr. High and will start Cyprus High School this year, made an impression on the principals.
“Anton and his people built the shelves, did a food drive to fill them up and moved everything out to the portable. He raised not only food but money, and created some signs to hang up. I’ve had lots of Eagle Scouts do projects, but he went above and beyond,” said Judith Kissell, principal of James E. Moss Elementary.
Mill Creek principal Ann Kane was equally impressed. “This was one of the best Eagle projects I’ve ever been associated with. Not only did Anton and the other Scouts in his troop do a food drive for us, but they organized our pantry. We were able to walk in and it’s just done,” Kane said.
Kane liked that though his parents helped, it was really Anton doing the work. “It all went through Anton. He did a lot for the community, and we have supplies that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. I can’t say enough good things about this kid. If he’s an indication of the future, we’re in good hands,” Kane said.
Kane said she is questioned all the time about the necessity of the pantries and why the school needs to fulfill that role. “Our school is 70% free and reduced lunch, so there’s a great need. You can’t learn if you’re hungry, or if you don’t get enough sleep because your baby brother is crying all night because he’s hungry or doesn’t have a fresh diaper.
“Schools need to provide enough support so the kid can learn. Our job is to teach, but if a kid can’t learn because they’re hungry, or cold, or don’t have shoes, we need to address that before we teach them,” Kane said.
The schools have an ongoing need for donations. “They need non-perishable and ethnic food. Kids at Moss represent 52 different countries, and speak about 40 different languages. There are little cultural things you wouldn’t think about that affect what food they will eat—things like getting beans in a can versus dried beans in a bag,” Anton said.
Anton’s next step is to complete the write up of his project and send it on from his chartering organization, the First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City, Troop 34, to national BSA headquarters. But his scoutmaster Brian Bevan thinks the project was a success.
“Part of the project isn’t always that it should go smoothly—part of what you learn is to encounter adversity and then you learn to problem solve. Anton’s project hit all the numbers: he helped his local community, reached out to schools, got lots of people involved and gave service to children,” Bevan said.
“As a scoutmaster, I like to see the project incorporate the entire troop or their friends, which Anton did. Anton is senior patrol leader and a wonderful role model for the other kids. Scouting still exists in Utah. We have every intention of continuing scouting to help kids be great adults,” Bevan said.
Anton also sees the project as a success. “I feel like it helped so many people. There are over 1,000 kids at those schools. I helped the principals and social workers—now their job is easier because they have a place to go with food insecure kids. And I had a lot of fun with my friends, family and troop. We had so much manpower that we were able to accomplish a lot,” Anton said.