Lynchburg, VA- Starting at 7 a.m. Thursday, the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Central Virginia will conduct its annual count of the area's homeless. The coalition will have people fill out a survey. In return, they get thank you bags with things like hats, gloves, and toiletries. This year a local high schooler was in charge of gathering all the toiletries.
Will Casler is a senior at E.C. Glass and has been rounding up things like soap and shampoo since August of last year. It's all for his Eagle Scout Project--an effort to help his community, while reaching top honors in the Boy Scouts of America.
"He thought it would be a worthwhile project to help others," said John Casler, Will's dad.
It's a worthwhile project that's certainly taken a while.
"He's been working on this since August," said Will's mom, Laura Casler.
"It's definitely challenging, and takes a lot of dedication and a lot of work," said Will.
Will says he's used to dedicating himself to a cause. It's something he learned in the scouts. From Cub, to Boy, he's put in the time and effort to make it to Eagle.
"It's an effort over the long haul to achieve a goal. It's not an instantaneous thing. It's something that a young man or young boy has to stick with," said John.
"The main thing was I just worked so hard to get up to a certain point, I didn't want to just stop and just have all that other stuff go to waste," said Will.
So Will made sure his project would be a success. He made phone calls, sent emails and wrote letters to local orthodontists, dentists, churches, schools and stores.
"Filling the backpacks was the easy part. Collecting the stuff was what took a long time," said Laura.
But Will's hard work and determination paid off.He got deals from Kroger and Walmart on toiletry items, and Liberty University donated bags to put everything in. And he had some more help too.
"A lot of donations from my church and from Linkhorne Middle School," said Will.
And come 7 a.m., he will be in place at the Salvation Army with all 300 bags of toiletries in tow.
"It will go to a good cause and it will help them out. And definitely I will feel very good about what I've done," said Will.
Will says Shawne Farmer, the executive director for Interfaith Outreach, helped him come up with the idea for his Eagle Scout Project. He also thanks his parents for supporting him so much throughout this entire process.