Members of the American Legion Post 55, Clermont and Post 239, Groveland-Mascotte joined with Boy Scouts of America Troop 551, Clermont to address the growing problem of hunger in Central Florida.

The latest Eagle Scout project of Troop 551, led by Life Scout Rafe Reynolds, provides south Lake County with two ‘Little Free Pantry’ locations.  Little Free Pantries are stocked with community food pantry boxes that make it easy for those in need to take from the pantry what they need, and others with a little extra to leave a blessing for those in need.

The scouts of Troop 551 built the boxes from scratch, following ideas from The Little Free Pantry movement.  The boxes were erected outdoors on Saturday – one at each of the American Legion Post meeting halls in Clermont and Mascotte/Groveland.  Access to each box is based on the honor system.   The community is invited to drop off non-perishable foods and essential household supplies to help stock the boxes on a regular basis.

“Nearly 30% of kids in Central Florida are what the government classifies as ‘food insecure’. That means more than 190,000 children in our six-county area often go hungry, don’t know where their next meal is going to come from, or have to rely on cheap, nutritionally poor food to fill their stomachs.  In addition, there are an estimated 250 homeless persons in Lake County, of which 15% are believed to be veterans”, said Rafe Reynolds.  “This project will help the American Legion and members of our communities to do their part to feed those in need in south Lake County”, he continued.

Trish Gardener, 1stVice President of American Legion Post 55 Auxiliary commented, “The Auxillary’s mission is to advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.  We are excited to sponsor the Boy Scouts of America to bring our mission to life through this valuable community service project.”  Don Grieb, Commander of American Legion Post 239 shared his support of the project, stating, “This is part of our organization’s long-standing commitment to mentor youth, like our local Scout troops, and the sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities.”

To learn more about The Little Free Pantry movement, visit

Established in 2002, Troop 551 is chartered by the American Legion Post 55 in Clermont.  The Troop serves South Lake County in several service projects throughout the year, including Scouting for Food, community flag ceremonies, parades and Eagle Scout projects.  The troop 551 meets weekly at the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Clermont.   Young men from the age of 10-18 are always welcome to join the Scouting program.  For more information about Troop 551 and Boy Scouting, visit the website at, or contact the Scoutmaster by email at

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