Not long ago, I joined a Facebook group called Cub Scout Boy Scout Uniform Exchange. It is run by Tom Polis, a Scouter with Boy Scout Troop 92 in Deleware. Tom describes the group this way:
The Cub Scout Boy Scout Uniform Exchange is a place where Scout-Minded people can donate “experienced” scout uniforms for boys who are in financial need. Also a great place to “swap” Scout Patches and accessories, offer low-cost used uniforms and accessories, camping gear and even post your ISOs.
I started watching to see what kinds of comments people are posting. Here are just a few of the comments that I've seen:
“My son just joined Cub Scouts as a Tiger Cub, and we can't afford the uniform. Any help would be greatly appreciated.”
“I am a den leader and was told tonight that 2 boys were going to be pulled because the foster family cannot afford the uniforms…”
“What would be the pricing? I'm on unemployment right now, so I'm a little strapped financially. I need it to be as cheap as possible.”
I have to tell you that this broke my heart, so when Tom reached out to me to ask if I could help spread the word about the Exchange, I didn't hesitate.
The Exchange accepts donations of pretty much anything Scout-related with an emphasis on gently-used uniforms and supplies (shirts, patches, hats, neckerchiefs, slides, belts, socks and pants). I'm sure the Exchange will accept handbooks, but it's better if they don't have too much writing in them.
I encourage all of my wonderful readers to talk to those in your pack and collect a “care package” of uniforms that you can send to Tom. We all have boys who crossed over or who started in Scouts and quit after a couple of months. Reach out to those folks and ask if they would be willing to donate their old supplies.
In our pack, someone always leaves a hat or slide and never claims it. Send those over to Tom. I'm a bit sentimental, so I'm keeping most of my boys' uniforms, but I really don't need the two extra Wolf slides that I bought before the original one turned up!
Tom has offered to pay for postage to have donations sent to him, but let's try to cover the shipping costs ourselves. The United State Postal Service has free flat rate boxes available to ship items. The small box is 8-5/8″ x 5-3/8″ x 1-5/8″ and costs $5.80 to ship. That's right–stuff it full of shirts and hats and neckerchiefs and ship it for only $5.80.
Consider turning this into a Cub Scout service project. Ask the boys to collect loose change around the house to donate. Or have them ask to do an extra chore around the house to earn a couple of dollars to donate. You can pay to send the pack's uniform donations and even have some cash to donate to Tom to help him cover the costs of shipping to the needy Scouts.
Here's how to contact Tom:
- Join the Cub Scout Boy Scout Uniform Exchange Facebook group!
- Email Tom at [email protected]
- Ship your donations toThomas Polis, Troop 92 Uniform Exchange, 42 Minquil Dr. Newark, DE 19713.
Tom, thank you for helping ensure that all boys can take advantage of our great Scouting program!
I'm going to sign off with Tom's personal motto, “For the Boys,” because, as he says, “it really is for THEM, isn't it?”
For the Boys,