When Scottsdale Boy Scout Kent Woods learned that some children in the Balsz School District in Phoenix received no Christmas presents last year, he knew he needed to take action.
After hearing the news from his mother, Molly, a teacher at Brunson-Lee Elementary School, 12-year-old Kent decided to create a toy drive for his Eagle Scout leadership service project.
Kent decided to make his project a month-long endeavor, unlike most Eagle Scout projects.
Kent has been a Scout for only two years, but he has moved up quickly through the ranks with ambition and hard work. He plans to complete requirements for the top position within two months.
“He’s got a lot of passion for helping other people, and Scouting has helped develop his passion for community service,” said Keith Woods, Kent’s father.
NAPA Auto Parts and KDKB (93.3 FM), where Keith Woods works as an account executive, are sponsoring his son’s service project, appropriately named “Santa’s Scouts Gift Drive.”
Santa’s Scouts are asking for new and unwrapped outdoor toys. They also welcome action figures and toys suitable for both genders.
Donors can also go online to give $25, which will provide a family with a Christmas meal.
Toys can be dropped off until Dec. 7 at any NAPA Auto Parts store.
Kent, a seventh-grader at St. Theresa’s Catholic School in Phoenix, will collect the toys Dec. 8 and take them to the school district to be sorted and put in distribution boxes for the children.
Robert Jones, superintendent of the Balsz School District, said he was interested in Kent’s idea and commended him for being a go-getter.
“I wish I would have been that thoughtful when I did my Eagle Scout project,” Jones said.
While not in school or working on Scout projects, Kent is active in several sports but is forgoing basketball this season to focus on his project.
He said obtaining his Eagle Scout award means a lot to him, so sports are taking a back seat.
“Right now it’s overwhelming, so I’m just focused on my project and school,” Kent said.
His dad said the Scouting program has taught Kent something his other activities could not.
“It instills values like love of country and faith of God, things you don’t pick up in the classroom or on the football field,” Keith Woods said.
Kent said math is his favorite school subject and he wants to be an architect.
Jones said Kent is an inspiration to all young people. “He has visited and worked at (Brunson-Lee) before, so it’s great to see a young person already looking at ways to give back to the community,” Jones said. “There’s still hope in our youth.”
For information on where to drop off toys, visit www.santasscouts.org.
Toy collection sites
Santa’s Scouts toy collection sites are at these NAPA Auto Parts stores:
• 71 E. Frye Road, Chandler
Phone: (480) 963-6402
• 3051 E. Main St., Mesa
Phone: (480) 924-6992
• 6827 E. Main St., Mesa
Phone: (480) 294-6999
• 2330 W. Broadway Road, Mesa
Phone: (480) 281-0140
• 1022 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Phone: (480) 892-9866
• 8241 E. Evans Road, Scottsdale
Phone: (480) 991-0161
• 1923 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Phone: (480) 949-8808
• 1848 E. University Drive, Tempe
Phone: (480) 968-8904
• 720 W. Elliot Road, Tempe
Phone: (480) 820-7900
• 2150 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix
Phone: (602) 267-0677
• 2711 E. Bell Road, Phoenix
Phone: (602) 344-2000
• 3707 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix
Phone: (602) 437-3028