Prospective Meridian Eagle Scout organizes donation drive for refugees resettling in the valley

Posted at 5:19 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 19:19:06-04

A Meridian teen decided to organize a donation drive for his Eagle Scout Project to collect household items for refugee families resettling in the Treasure Valley.

"These people are in need. They've suffered so much," 14-year-old Jackson Thomas said. "It's just really important for them to be able to live comfortably and actually have a life and trust people around them in their community."

Jackson created a GoFundMe account for cash donations and spread the word on social media, He even went door-to-door with flyers, giving his surrounding neighbors an opportunity to pitch in.

Jackson and a group of scouts in the community got together Tuesday night to re-visit the homes where they brought flyers to pick up donations. The GoFundMe account raised 600 dollars in just a week.

"I thought that was pretty crazy!" Jackson said. He used the money to buy a truckload of household goods like silverware, soaps, cleaning supplies and cookware. "Just a bunch of different things we use every day that we don't think about, that these people don't have," he said.

Jackson got the motivation after meeting several refugees who enrolled at his middle school.

"There was a whole bunch of refugee kids who came to our school to learn English because they came here not knowing how to do that," he explained. "It's kind of amazing to see what they've been through and how they deal with it."

"We thought yeah that's a great idea," Jackson's dad Greg Thomas said. "It's a big undertaking, quite a big ordeal. He's organized this whole thing by himself."

Although Jackson hopes the project will help him achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, he hopes the donations will make a big impact on the newest Americans in the Gem State.

"They've seen their families get killed in front of them," Jackson said. "A whole bunch of terrible things have happened to them and they've just suffered so much and I feel like they should just be able to feel comfortable here and be able to live."