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Scouts project to help Iowa's homeless

Aspiring Eagle Scout Jared McDonald, a 15-year-old freshman at Southeast Polk High School, has dedicated his Eagle project to Central Iowa Shelter and Services (CISS).

With the help of fellow Scouts and adult volunteers, McDonald created 500 “help kits” last week at Altoona Christian Church. The kits — backpacks containing basic toiletries, hygiene products, a refillable water bottle and information about CISS — are intended to be given out by first responders when they encounter homeless people in the community.

CISS provides free shelter and meals to homeless adults regardless of physical or emotional conditions, and facilitates their move toward self-sufficiency.

McDonald sought product donations from various hotels and suppliers, and appealed to family members and friends for both product donations and the cash necessary to purchase the remaining supplies.

“We are very appreciative of Jared’s efforts on this project to support Central Iowa Shelter & Services and the individuals that we provide opportunities for,” CISS director Tony Timm said. “The kits provide some basic needs items and information on our services. They are available for members of the community to have in their vehicles who then in turn provide the kits to individuals in need they meet in the community. It is with dedicated individuals such as Jared that CISS can continue providing the services that we do.”

McDonald is a Life Scout with Altoona Troop 383. A music devotee, he plays three different instruments in several Southeast Polk band ensembles. His interests include music, hiking and camping, mountain climbing, family and friends, and church.

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