The Boy Scouts’ Northern Star Council believes every boy should have the opportunity to join the Scouts, regardless of his family’s financial situation.
“Scouting is for all boys, and we’d like everybody to (be able) to afford the process,” Northern Star Council Marketing Director Kent York said.
For some families, purchasing a uniform simply isn’t in the budget.
That’s where a partnership with Pilgrim Cleaners comes in.
Many Scouts and former Scouts still have an old uniform in the closet or packed up in a box somewhere. Tear the patches off that uniform and clean it, and it’s ready to serve another Scout.
During the month of July, Brooklyn Park-based Pilgrim is collecting used uniforms and cleaning them free of charge before donating them to the Northern Star Council for distribution.
Now in its sixth year, Pilgrim’s “Scouting for Uniforms” campaign has brought in more than 2,000 uniforms since it began in 2008.
“I think it continues to be a need in the community, and we always try to respond to where we feel the community has those needs,” Pilgrim Cleaners President Bonnie Engler said. “It’s a lot of extra work and expense, but it makes you feel good to be able to give back, and that’s our way of doing it. … I think it’s been a success.”
“It’s been successful in a couple of different ways,” he said. “Number one, it’s accomplishing the objective of providing a uniform to all kids. And it reinforces in the community that Scouting is for all kids. … We don’t want cost to be a barrier to young people.”
It’s also a form of recycling, York added, which further reinforces the stewardship principles taught by the Scouts.
This year’s uniform drive kicked off July 1 and runs through the end of the month.
Sun Newspapers and KARE 11 are once again sponsoring the drive.
The Northern Star Council serves young people in 21 Minnesota counties and four western Wisconsin counties.
Collection points for donated uniforms include all 25 Pilgrim Dry Cleaning locations, as well as the Boy Scout council offices at 5300 Glenwood Ave. in Golden Valley and 393 Marshall Ave. in St. Paul.
There’s a special need for Cub Scout uniforms – the little blue shirts – because they often run out first during distribution.
To find the nearest Pilgrim location, go to pilgrimdrycleaners.com.