The Pledge of Allegiance was quite a bit louder during Monday night's Village Board meeting.
The pledge, always said before board meetings, was led by a packed room of about 100 local Boy and Girl Scouts and their parents. The scouts in attendance were honored with a "Good Citizens" award for their success during last month's food drive.
"The scouts every year make a tremendous effort with the food drive," Mayor Tim Baldermann said. "This year was just phenomenal."
The Village Board presented a resolution recognizing the work of the local scouts, which including three Cub Scout troops, five Boy Scout troops and 32 Girl Scouts troops.
The scouts distributed nearly 6,600 brown grocery bags to homes and then collected them once filled with food items. In total, 43,815 food items were collected, a astounding 30,000 more than in 2009.
The increase was so large, in fact, that the certificates from the village need to be corrected; it read that the scouts collected 13,450 more food items than last year. The troops also collected $2,900 from local businesses to help pay for food, fliers and signs.
The food went to the three local food pantries at the New Lenox Township, New Life Church and St. Jude Catholic Church.
Pack leader Bill Thomson, chairman of the New Lenox Scouts food drive, accepted the resolution on behalf of all scouts. In a letter to scouts and parents, Thomson said that based on the activity on collection day last month, he's already considering changes for next year. A Food Drive Committee will be formed to continue the success of this year, find a larger venue, reduce the time it takes to box food and continue having fun.
"Last year I was talking about how proud we were and I think we had 15 kids here," Thomson said. "You can see how the program has grown."