TROY — Newly constructed shelving units will be utilized for the first time at a local children’s clothing drive this weekend, thanks to the efforts of 14-year-old Boy Scout Garrett Piel.
Garrett, a Tipp City Junior High eighth-grader, is currently participating in Tipp City Scout Troop 586, and has been a member of the Boy Scouts for almost eight years.
Garrett constructed the shelving units to complete his Eagle Scout project.
“We have to plan the project, get it approved by the beneficiary, get it approved by our troop committee, and then go to district and get it approved from them,” Garrett said. “After that, we can start building.”
Garrett went on to describe that each Eagle Scout project “has to provide leadership experience for the scout, involve multiple people in the project, and has to benefit the community in some way.”
As Garrett conceived potential projects, he saw a need to be met in the children’s clothing ministry provided at First Lutheran Church, where his family attends.
“We were just using Rubbermaid bins, and it wasn’t very inviting or welcoming to people who had to come in to get their clothes,” Garrett said. “I wanted to build these units to help showcase the ministry, and provide a cleaner and more welcoming experience.”
After calculating measurements for the project on graph paper, Garrett and his family began to gather materials through several trips to local home improvement stores. Garrett then constructed the shelving units with the help of about ten other people, including friends, family, and fellow scouts.
The finished units are split into columns, each occupying a different size of clothing, divided by short-sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirts, shorts, and pants.
The children’s clothing ministry, which has been active at First Lutheran Church since 2011, opens three times a year for public shopping, and is also available in emergencies by contacting the church.
The ministry’s next drive will be held this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, where the fruits of Garrett’s labor will be enjoyed by the community for the first time.
With the finalization of this project, Garrett has completed all the requirements necessary to achieve his status as Eagle Scout. His Eagle Court of Honor will be held in late March to receive his awards.
“I learned a lot of different woodworking skills, as well as leadership skills,” Garrett said. “There was a lot of planning in making sure everything was ready before people got there, and having jobs for each person to do.”
“One of the things Garrett and I have talked about as being one of the most rewarding things is knowing how it will be used, and how it will serve the community,” said Steven Piel, Garrett’s father. “In the past, this drive has served an average of 50 children.”
“It’s going to help in getting easier access to all the clothes, and will make for less work for volunteers that run this drive,” said ministry coordinator Tiffany Grody. “It’s going to be easier all around, and help the community feel like it’s something special.”
“It truly touched my heart as the pastor that a young member so thoughtfully invested and chose a gift for a specific ministry in our church,” said First Lutheran Pastor Heidi Holst. “He has a true servant heart, and we are so delighted to see how Christian parents set the seed that is now blossoming in Garrett.”
For more information on the children’s clothing drive, visit “First Lutheran Church, Troy, Ohio” on Facebook.