Some Johnstown residents will find a grocery sack on their front porch Thursday.

Some Johnstown residents will find a grocery sack on their front porch Thursday.

Placing canned goods or non-perishable items in the bag and leaving it on the doorstep will both help feed area residents and help Johnstown-Monroe High School sophomore Michael Trauntvein become an Eagle Scout.

Trauntvein will go back around the community on Saturday morning, April 4, to gather the bags. He won't be knocking on residents' doors.

He hopes to collect a thousand pounds of food in a three-pronged drive to help the Food Pantry Network (FPN) of Licking County and the Johnstown Northridge Food Pantry stock their shelves. Phase One is the door-to-door bag drop in Johnstown, predominantly in the areas of Leafy Dell, Kyber Run and Concord Crossing.

The second phase will happen at JMHS, where Trauntvein will place boxes in each classroom and encourage students to bring in canned food. He has worked with Principal Kim Jakeway to offer a pizza party incentive, as well, for the class that brings in the most food.

A third phase will happen at his family's church in Granville, which is donating $500 worth of strawberry jam for FPN.

"It turns out they get a lot of peanut butter, but not a lot of jam to go with it," Trauntvein explained. "There will be about 18 of us from church taking the jam over, and we'll stay and stock shelves, clean the pantry, whatever they need us to do and then take a tour."

FPN of Licking County is affiliated with the Croton Church of Christ, which serves the Johnstown area on their behalf. In 2007, FPN served 700,000 individual meals to those in need.

"We rely on initiatives like this by groups, organizations and businesses in our community 100 percent," said FPN director Charles Moore.

Half of the donations collected in Johnstown will go to the Johnstown Food Pantry, Trauntvein said, and half to FPN.

"I figured they'd need help because of our nation's economic situation and the high unemployment rate," said Trauntvein. He started planning his project in October. He estimates he will log 90 to 100 hours by the time his project is complete.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is a natural progression for Trauntvein, who says the lessons he has learned in scouting will help him the rest of his life.

"It teaches you so many things, from physical training to a love of the outdoors," he said. "Mostly, it teaches you to be self-sufficient and self-motivated."

Trauntvein, the son of Todd and Amy Trauntvein, started in Cub Scouts at age 8. His family moved to Johnstown four years ago from Utah. He has served as Patrol Leader of his troop, Boy Scout Troop 4051 in Granville, and been to camp four times. Over his years of scouting, Trauntvein has earned 22 merit badges and was named to the prestigious Order of the Arrow two years ago.

Becoming an Eagle Scout requires not just the meeting of various scouting criteria but also a large-scale project like the one Trauntvein is doing for the food pantries and the people of Licking County.

"It will be great when it's over to see how many shelves we've filled at the storehouse, to see how we've been able to help," Trauntvein said.

"Michael's project is great because it gets kids involved, too, and helps build characteristics in them that we want our young people to have," Moore said. "We appreciate that hungry people in Licking County will be fed because of his project."

His parents say Michael has gained a sense of leadership and self-sufficiency, not just from scouting but from the Eagle project specifically.

"I think that's the thing about the Eagle project," Todd Trauntvein said. "It asks you, 'Okay, you've done all this stuff now what have you really learned?'"

Trauntvein, who is in the honors program at JMHS, has other interests that include band, track and playing the piano, as well as video games and church activities. He hopes to attend Brigham Young University in Utah after graduation and possibly pursue a career in writing.

Trauntvein said he is grateful to everyone in the community who has already offered assistance and especially to Giant Eagle of New Albany for providing the grocery bags.