Seth Oltmans has been volunteering with what is now known as the Community Cupboard of Elizabethtown since he was in middle school.
When he started, people with food to donate could only do so when the office was open. There was a bin left indoors for donations, but it couldn’t be left outside because there was no way to protect donations from the elements.
Now thanks to Oltmans and other Boy Scouts from Troop 51, sponsored by St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, the Community Cupboard has a 24-hour donation drop-off container. The drop-off looks like a shed and is similar to the after-hours book dropoff behind the Elizabethtown Public Library.
The drop-off container was Oltmans’ Eagle Scout project. Oltmans was presented withthe Eagle Scout rank at a Court of Honor ceremony in early June.
“The Community Cupboard needed a way for people to donate food 24-7. … I asked them first what they needed; they told me a new drop-off bin would be great,” Oltmans said.
The next step was finding out exactly what they needed from the bin. It had to be designed in such a way that once donations were dropped off, they would stay inside until a Community Cupboard worker removes them. Another thing that needed to be done was to have separate places to drop off canned food and boxed food.
“We don’t want them to crush all the boxes. Cereal boxes and such would be crushed by the cans,” Oltmans said.
Oltmans said he worked with an uncle, Brad Mentzer, to design the bin. Mentzer does computer-aided design for a living, so he was able to help Oltmans get a design ready in about four to five hours.
Then came the big work day. Oltmans and many other Scouts from Troop 51 worked for about 12 hours in one day. After that, Oltmans finished up by working an hour or two at a time.
“Building it took a lot longer than I expected,” Oltmans said.
The bin was first placed behind the Community Cupboard’s previous location on South Market Street. It has since been moved to the new location at Community Place on Washington at 61 E. Washington St., a centralized location for social services.
As for the similarity to the Elizabethtown Public Library’s book drop-off, Oltmans confirmed that’s no coincidence.
“I did look to that for some inspiration and I did take some elements from that,” Oltmans said.