Mac Dishman with RISD School Board President Karen Clardy

Mac Dishman just finished his sophomore year at Lake Highlands High School, and now he’s ready to tackle a new challenge – hunger in our community. For his Eagle project, the 16-year-old has organized a food drive to benefit Feed Lake Highlands. This Saturday from 10-4, he and his team will collect food items to be distributed by the program which supports youth and families in 12 multi-family housing communities in the neighborhood.

Dishman chose Feed LH because of the rapidly growing need for food during the pandemic, he said.

“After serving at Feed Lake Highlands and seeing how they support the community,” Dishman told me by email, “I wanted to help them in a time where they were providing for and serving more families than ever.”

Becoming an Eagle Scout requires organizing volunteers and involving the community. Both are particularly difficult during a worldwide health crisis.

“Holding a food drive during a pandemic offers some unique challenges, which is why we set this up as a ‘touch-less’ drive-through food drive,” he explained. “Our volunteers will have masks and gloves, and they will be ready to take any food items from the backs of cars, so people don’t have to get out of their cars. So far, the responses have been overwhelmingly positive, and I have a good start on volunteers for Saturday.”

Dishman is collecting canned vegetables, fruit, soup, chili, tuna and pasta sauce, along with dried beans, rice, pasta meals, macaroni and cheese, cereal, peanut butter, jelly and tortillas. If you’d prefer to donate money, you can contribute online here.

Considering that both his parents, Doug and Carrie McClendon Dishman, and lots of his extended family graduated from LHHS, Dishman has a strong sense of the history of the neighborhood. He joined Cub Scouts when he was 6 and Troop 890, chartered in 1961 by Lake Highlands United Methodist Church, when he was 11.

“This is Troop 890’s 59th year, and they have produced over 500 Eagle Scouts so far. If I am the next person to finish up with the requirements, I will be Eagle Scout No. 542,” he told me proudly. “My favorite things about Lake Highlands are the connections I’ve made. From the passionate teachers, friends made through school and extended family on both sides, the Lake Highlands community has been an important part of my life. My grandparents, family and friends have been very helpful spreading the word, and my Kindergarten teacher was one of the first people to volunteer.”

If you’d like to help, bring your food donations to the parking lot outside the New Room, 10061 Whitehurst from 10-4 Saturday. Dishman will be the tall kid behind the mask, but you will still spot his grin.