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Cub Scout Webelos Kili Kaawaloa, left, and Steven Dykstra joined some 50 other Cub Scouts outside both Camp Zama and Sagamihara Housing Area commissaries on Saturday to collect food and donations to benefit the Aikeikai Orphanage in Machida.
Cub Scout Webelos Kili Kaawaloa, left, and Steven Dykstra joined some 50 other Cub Scouts outside both Camp Zama and Sagamihara Housing Area commissaries on Saturday to collect food and donations to benefit the Aikeikai Orphanage in Machida. (Courtesy of Tom Snider)

Camp Zama’s Cub Scout Pack 34 held its ninth annual food drive Saturday in front of the Zama and Sagamihara Housing Area commissaries.

Thirty-four boys ages 7 to 11 collected about $160 in cash and 2,000 pounds of food from both locations. Charesse Blood, the wife of pack committee chairman Jeff Blood, organized the six-hour endeavor. Shoppers donated items such as rice, canned fruits and vegetables, diapers, dehydrated potatoes, wet wipes, baby food, juice boxes and bottled juice.

“It’s always a big success,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Tommy Snider, a pack spokesman who works for a 374th Communications Squadron detachment at Camp Zama. “They estimated it to be a little larger than last year. It was a good haul. The boys here did pretty well.”

On Dec. 10, the Scouts and their families — led by Cub Master Martin Dadswell — will take it all to the Aikeikai Orphanage in Machida, a local facility that houses almost 50 children ages 5 and under.

The pack normally fills two school buses for the annual trip, Snider said.

“It’s very rewarding for everybody involved,” he said. “Our thing is to foster good will in the community, and that’s an easy way for the boys to do it. They get to do a little bit of work and understand what the benefit of it is.”

That morning, Pack 34 members will load a truck at the Scout hut in the Sagamihara Housing Area and travel to Machida, where they’ll form a human chain inside the orphanage to pass along the contributions. After the handover, the American children plan to spend a couple of hours interacting with the Japanese orphans.

Snider said the Cub Scouts always get a tremendous response.

The Japanese “are very appreciative,” he said. “You can see the caregivers there that are overwhelmed.

“The kids are too small to understand, but they know how to play when the Cubs get on the floor with them to build Lego houses and roll trucks around. They know how to have fun being kids.”

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