As the cold season approaches, one youngster took the initiative to help those in need by organizing a coat and blanket drive throughout the borough.
Brendan DelBene, 14, is currently a Life Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, hoping to earn his way up to an Eagle Scout.
Since the beginning of his Boy Scout career in Troop 182, DelBene has earned 31 merit badges and has been accepted into the elite Order of the Arrow, of which his stepfather is also a member.
His next goal is to earn Eagle Scout ranking by completing his Eagle Project, a large undertaking that will benefit the community and its residents.
“I had a whole bunch of ideas for the season,” said DelBene, “and I asked my mom and Scoutmaster and we decided the coat drive would be the best.”
With the help of family and friends, DelBene created and put up fliers throughout the neighborhood informing people of the jacket and blanket drive, taking any donations provided they are relatively clean. Items collected are given to the volunteer organization Midnight Run, to be distributed to the homeless throughout New York City.
“I choose Midnight Run because there are a lot of homeless people that are cold and they can’t afford a blanket or jacket,” said DelBene. “Since the weather is getting colder, I want to help these people.”
DelBene will be collecting coats and blankets at his apartment, or on Thursday, November 6 and Thursday, November 13, in front of the First Lutheran Church of Throggs Neck, located on 3075 Baisley Avenue, from 5 to 7 p.m.
“I think its fantastic he picked such a wonderful cause, and its such a big undertaking,” said DelBene’s mother, Sharon DelBene-Giattino. “I didn’t realize how big this Eagle project was and the hours that go into planning this, with setting up tables, making fliers, and getting people involved.”
Following the completion of this project, DelBene will go before a board of review to decide if the project meets the ranking’s criteria.
“It is a similar process to a job interview,” said DelBene’s Scoutmaster, Gerard Pilate. “When the scout completes this process they can pretty much take on any job interview people can throw at them and have the necessary leadership skills.”
According to Pilate, this program is designed to bring out the best in each of its members and have them demonstrate leadership. Less than 4% of Boy Scouts are accepted into the Eagle Scout rank.
“An Eagle Scout is a huge honor to be and it shows you aren’t a youth in your troop anymore,” said DelBene. “You are considered one of the adults and can be on a committee.”