MONTICELLO — Tim Sikorski combined two things he loves — running and helping people — in planning a new weekend event.
As part of his Eagle Scout project, the Monticello Middle School eighth-grader organized a 3-mile fun run and walk, set for Saturday at Lodge Park.
The run will benefit the Bement Food Pantry and Willow Tree Missions.
“It’s a great way to show the community the beauty of Lodge Park, promote physical fitness and raise awareness and help two great organizations,” he said.
Sikorski said he picked a project to benefit the Bement Food Pantry because Amy Fair, the facility’s manager, told him the pantry served 12 families two years ago — and 30 now.
“The need for food is definitely there,” Sikorski said. “And I wanted to do what I could to help.”
Food insecurity is a growing problem in the area, Sikorski has learned, and he hopes to bring attention to that with the run.
“With food costs rising, more families are having difficulty making ends meet, which increases the need for food pantries,” he said. “Most food pantries are run by donations from the community or area businesses, making community involvement a vital part of the success of these organizations.”
Sikorski joined Boy Scouts after seeing how much fun his brother had and was inspired to become an Eagle Scout after watching his sibling achieve the feat.
“Once I started my scouting journey, I instantly knew that this was the kind of thing for me and that it was something that I loved,” he said. “As my brother progressed through scouting and became an Eagle Scout, I realized that if it was something that was so important to him, and he was so into becoming an Eagle Scout, then it was something that I should strive for.”
Sikorski’s path to becoming an Eagle Scout started by first learning the basics of scouting — first aid, the proper use of tools, physical fitness and outdoor skills. Then the focus shifted to leadership responsibility and mentoring younger scouts.
“The Eagle Scout service project puts those skills together,” he said.
Scouts must pick a project that benefits the community, a school or a religious institution. Then they research, organize and obtain approval for the project from the troop and council office.
The final step in becoming an Eagle Scout is going before a board of review, where the candidate talks about all phases of the project. The committee also reviews the scout’s mission/life purpose statement and five or six reference letters.
“It’s a difficult process, but I believe the lessons I’ve learned through this will be worth it,” Sikorski said.
Sikorski hopes people turn out for Saturday’s 9 a.m. start. Those who do are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the pantry or a monetary donation for Willow Tree Missions.
“Whether you choose to compete or just walk and enjoy the trails, we’d love to see you,” he said. “Having a run where people can get together, talk and compete makes our community stronger and helps make giving to others fun.
“I’m proud to be a part of that, and I hope it pays off for Willow Tree and the Bement Food Pantry.”
Nora Maberry is editor of the Piatt County Journal-Republican, a Community Media Group newspaper. For more, visit journal-republican.com.