Food drive honoring local scout raises 60,000 meals for Food Gatherers

An annual food drive by Ann Arbor Boy Scout Troop 4 has collected food and funds for Food Gatherers that will provide 60,000 meals for community members facing food insecurity.

This year marks the 16th annual “Tim Esch Scouting for Food Birthday Party” hosted by local Boy Scout Troop 4 in honor of Eagle Scout Tim Esch, a troop member who passed away at the age of 18 in a tragic automotive accident.

After joining Troop 4 in 5th grade, Tim enjoyed participating in the annual “Scouting for Food” food drive, going door-to-door to collect donations of non-perishable food. The year after Tim’s death in 2005, the Esch family and Troop 4 combined the annual food drive with a birthday party in honor of Tim.

During the annual campaign, Troop 4 Scouts bring the food collected during the drive to the Esch’s residence to be picked up by Food Gatherers, and Tim’s family, Jan and Dave Esch, and sister Julie, serve cupcakes in honor of Tim’s birthday.

“Scouting for Food is a stepping stone for all the Scouts as they grow through their experiences”, said Jan and Dave Esch.

While the post-food drive birthday celebration is postponed for another year, the Scouts will still be celebrating with an outdoor ice-cream social in June.

“There is a feeling of having conquered the challenges and accomplished this important task, and hope that the summer will be better for everyone,” said Esch.

Due to the pandemic in 2020, the in-person food drive and celebration were canceled, and the troop collected monetary donations online, with record-breaking results. This year, the campaign continued to collect online donations but the Scouts were excited to
be able to once again collect food items, following safety guidelines.

“The online donations are astounding”, said Esch. “But after a long winter of canceled activities and endless screen time, it was great to see the cans and boxes pile up—a tangible reminder of something “normal” and hopeful.”

The annual drive is an opportunity for the Scouts to learn about the needs of their community and the many different ways Food Gatherers works with partner organizations to distribute food. The food drive is also supported by Troop 4’s chartering organization, First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor, who included the food drive in their food insecurity awareness efforts.

“We greatly appreciate the support of FUMC,” said Esch. “They have always contributed but this was an extra effort focused on our shared goal to help people.”

The food and fund drive will help support Food Gatherers’ network of more than 170 hunger-relief partner agencies and programs.

“We are deeply honored to receive these donations made in memory of Tim Esch,” said Eileen Spring, Food Gatherers President and CEO. “For the last year and a half, more of our neighbors than ever before have faced food insecurity. The commitment of Troop 4 to continue to adapt to meet the needs of our community members makes a significant impact on the fight against hunger.”

About Food Gatherers
Food Gatherers’ mission is to alleviate hunger and eliminate its root causes in Washtenaw County. The food bank and food rescue program for the county, we distributed 7.8 million pounds of food to 170 non-profit programs serving adults, seniors, and children last year. For a list of our partner programs or to learn how you can become involved in the fight against hunger locally, please visit or call 734-761-2796.