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Troop 66 gets cooking

While other boys and girls are spending their winter break from school staying up late and sleeping in, the young men of Boy Scouts of America Troop 66 out of Marcellus are busy waking up early and putting their skills to use.

On Monday, Steve Larison, Jeff Beyel and David Gooden arrived at Meals on Wheels of Syracuse around 8 a.m. They were quickly put to work packaging foods to be delivered to more than 400 clients throughout the Syracuse area.

"It's nice helping people that can't cook (for themselves)," said Beyel, 12.

Each of the boys, along with Scoutmaster Dan Gooden and parent Alan Beyel, were assigned to certain foods to pack into single-serving meal containers. Depending on dietary needs, clients received certain foods, said David Gooden.

"There's a few people that didn't like milk or were allergic," he said. Also, for those who cannot chew well, some clients chose applesauce over another fruit or vegetable choice.

Around 10 a.m. Monday, the volunteers got to work in the kitchen once again after a short break. This time, instead of packaging cold foods, they tried their hand at a hot meal -- spaghetti, rolls, vegetables and other delicacies to whet the palate.

Larison was in charge of packing the rolls and quickly got the hang of it, slipping the bread in their spot on the tray and sliding it on down the line where it was put through a machine to seal the entire container.

Ed Brown, director of volunteer services since July 2006, said on average the organization serves between 415 and 425 clients each day from the areas of Syracuse, Jordan, Elbridge and the Onondaga Nation.

"It takes about 50 to 75 volunteers everyday to make sure our meals are not only prepared but also delivered to our clients," Brown said.

To help the numerous volunteers at Meals on Wheels, the Marcellus scouts will be on hand until Wednesday Dec. 31. According to Brown, there are a lot of other organizations the boys could have volunteered at during this time of year, organizations that they just may volunteer at in the future. But on Monday, Brown said the group was living up to their creed to do service for others.

To learn more about scouting or to find troops in your area, visit scouting.org. For more information on Meals on Wheels of Syracuse, visit meals.org or call 478-5948.

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