Free Scout uniforms are to be given out Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Waterville Goodwill. From left are Waterville Goodwill’s Manager Pam Meader and Chris Bernier, the chief organizer of The Kennebec Valley Uniform Bank, Submitted photo

WATERVILLE — Children who want to become a Scout can get a free uniform Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Waterville Goodwill store at 10 Concourse W.

A new Scouting uniform costs around $95, which prevents many children from being able to Scout. Goodwill Northern New England and The Kennebec Valley Uniform Bank plan to host a uniform drive from 6:30 to 8 p.m., according to a news release from Heather Steeves, communications manager, Goodwill Northern New England.

Any child who needs a Scouting uniform can pick one up at the drive. Anyone who has one to spare can donate it to the store ahead of time. Donations are accepted year-round at the Waterville Goodwill, and will be put aside in anticipation of this event.

The uniform bank and Goodwill NNE have outfitted more than 1,200 children in Maine who needed uniforms through these drives. All year, the employees at Waterville Goodwill set aside donated uniforms. The uniform bank then washes and rips off every award badge by hand.

Bernier, the chief organizer of the uniform bank, started the uniform bank by serving Waterville kids, but now he gets calls from all over the state asking to help outfit Scouts in need.

“So far we have served over three dozen communities in Maine, with some traveling as far as Topsham, Pittsfield, Bath and Bangor,” said Chris Bernier, the chief organizer of The Kennebec Valley Uniform Bank. “There are many people who are deserving who can’t afford a uniform for their child, and that’s what this is about. It’s about changing the future, changing the next generation, helping kids be better than they can be and building a better citizen.”

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Bernier has about 300 uniforms that Goodwill NNE collected for the cause in storage, ready for Scouts. The only requirement for a child to get a free uniform is that they be a Scout, or register to become one. The program allows Scouts to trade their uniforms when they outgrow them or change ranks. When they give back an old uniform, Bernier will give them a new one.

The drive will also have books, hats, belts, pants, insignia and other Scouting items. Signup forms will also be available for kids who are not in scouting, but would like to join. New Scouts will be placed in a unit as close to their community as possible, no matter the community they live in.

Any Scout hoping to earn a “Scouting For Food” patch can bring a non-perishable food item, which will be donated to the Pleasant Street Methodist Church Food Bank in Waterville. High-need items include canned vegetables, canned ravioli and Spaghetti-Os, granola bars and condiments.

Parents must bring their Scout’s registration form. Scouts will also be able to register to scout at Goodwill during the drive.

For more information, email [email protected].

 

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