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Elburn Eagle Scout leads renovations of food pantry

Tim Bohanek works to bring Elburn Countryside Food Pantry up to code

ELBURN – Tim Bohanek is a doer.

So when the time came for him to complete his Eagle Scout project for Venturing Crew 413 in Elburn, he made sure it got done in a timely fashion and correctly while overcoming any obstacles that got in his way.

“I feel like I’ve always been this way,” he said. “Since a young age, people have always said I’m a hard worker, and while doing this project, I put in almost 50 hours at work (Schmidt’s Towne Tap) that week.”

Bohanek, who will be a senior at Kaneland this fall, organized and led a much-needed face-lift and cleaning at the Elburn Countryside Food Pantry and made shelving renovations to get the pantry up to code with the Northern Illinois Food Bank, its community partner.

“We had an inspection in March and our shelving units went all the way down to the floor and they wanted them at least 6 inches off the floor,’ said Rita Burnham, coordinator of the pantry. “We still needed the space, though, and we cannot set boxes on the floor, so adjusting the shelving was the impetus for the whole thing.”

Adjusting a few shelves was a tougher task than imagined.

“That was probably the biggest challenge,” Bohanek said. “We needed to get them up 6 inches and to line them all up. It was difficult because there were a lot of different brands and different heights. We got all of them pretty close, but it was pretty hard to try to get the 20 units to line up.”

That was far from the end of Bohanek’s project. He completed several other renovations at the pantry.

“Tim came up with the other ideas,” Burnham said, “He sealed the windows, which had been gappy for years, painted, took everything out of the pantry and cleaned everything before bringing it back and, of course, he got all the shelves raised.”

A project like this could have taken a week to complete, but Bohanek was able to complete it much faster than expected, while also cleaning carpeting and hanging new blinds.

“It was a tedious, time-consuming project, but it definitely needed to be done and I’m extremely happy he got it done,” said Bruce Aderman, one of Bohanek’s advisers of Venturing Crew 413. “It speaks to his planning. Most kids procrastinate and Tim probably isn’t much different, but the difference is he’s a doer, a go-getter.”

Aderman said one of the biggest difficulties for those working toward achieving their Eagle Scout is organizing what needs to be done and leading others who are there to help complete the project.

“It’s a good thing he had other people there or he would’ve done it himself,” Aderman said. “The hardest thing for people like Tim is they get their heads into it and want to just do it. Basically directing people is the hardest thing for most of these kids, and Tim did a good job of it.”

Linda Potvin, an adviser for Venturing Crew 413, has seen many Eagle Scout projects over the years and complimented Bohanek’s leadership and work ethic.

“He knows what he wants, goes for it and gets it done,” she said. “He got everything donated for that project, so the food pantry didn’t have to put up any money and not many kids can do that.”

A Cub Scout who progressed to Boy Scouts, Bohanek transitioned to Venturing, an inclusive program through the Boy Scouts of America for males and females ages 14 to 21. Bohanek said Venturing was a better fit for him as he got older.

“I don’t have as much time now, and with the (Boy Scouts) troop it was mostly teaching the younger kids, but with (Venturing) crew, we’re still learning things and it’s more beneficial for the older kids.”

And it will be beneficial for the volunteers who run the food pantry as well as the clients they serve each week thanks to Bohanek.

Those interested in learning more about Venturing Crew 413 should contact Bruce Aderman at 630-404-6113.

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