Hunter Spioch and his group of volunteers stand behind some of the food handed out to 30 local families before being organized into separate baskets. Pictured are (from left) back row, Cameron Morris, Cody Wulf, Jacob Engel, Lucas Polkinghorn, Michael Kiss, Espn Hurt and Caden Flores; middle row, Parker Richardson, Keishon Midcalf, Jack Wenz, Cole McMorgan, Nico Gibson, Jackson Billmaier and Carter Koepfler; and front row, Hunter Spioch and his father, Glenn. MIRROR PHOTO BY DENNY McCARTHY
BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR REPORTER — When Hunter Spioch was choosing a project to earn his Eagle Scout badge, it didn’t surprise his dad in the least that he picked something to directly help the community.
Hunter, the kid who will stop and wait to hold open doors or help strangers load groceries in their car, organized a holiday food giveaway with donations of materials and goods from a variety of local businesses and vendors.
Along with help from the Maumee High School freshman boys basketball team, he handed out two baskets each to 30 families on December 20, just in time for Christmas.
“He’s always like that, he always wants to help people,” said his father, Glenn Spioch.
When asked what was the biggest lesson he learned through the process of collecting donations, finding families in need and organizing the pickup event, Hunter turned his sights inward.
“Don’t be afraid of who you are. Keep looking forward, don’t look back,” he said.
Hunter said the hardest part of the project was getting food and donations because of shortages. He reached out and received donations from Walt Churchill’s Market, which gave him 20 gallons of milk, and his Summit Academy teachers, who shopped for items at several local grocery stores.
As if being a Boy Scout wasn’t enough, Hunter also spent his summer as a ZooTEEN volunteer at the Toledo Zoo, where he put in 240 volunteer hours. One of the program’s leaders sent out an e-mail, and Hunter collected donations from there as well.
Part of the experience included approaching different people and asking for donations. Hunter’s past in Scouting certainly came in handy here – he led the Cub Scouts in popcorn sales for four straight years, increasing his sales each year, while approaching people and asking for sales.
“When we started that, he had no problem asking people to buy popcorn, and he would joke with them, which shocked me,” Glenn said.
Once they started collecting donations, the issue became where to store all of it. They utilized their spare bedroom, kitchen table, a freezer in their basement and a freezer at a friend’s house.
In the end, Hunter collected so many donations that the baskets doubled in size from what he had intended. Instead of the expected one basket, families received two baskets full of all the trimmings of a holiday meal.
Not that any of the families would have known, but gathering donations and finding families to help wasn’t without some struggles for Hunter. The way he viewed it, though, is that it was all part of the learning experience.
“We just kept digging through, kept trying to find ways to get around it,” he said. “We kept running into one locked door after another. We had to find more ways to unlock the doors, different ways to do it, different help.”
With his Eagle Scout project finished, Hunter is ready to turn the page on a Scouting journey that started in the first grade. In addition to his prowess as a popcorn salesman, he made it through Cub Scouts with perfect attendance, something Glenn said was all Hunter.
Hunter, however, gave his dad credit for motivating him.
“My dad kept pushing me and telling me to keep going even though I did want to give up a few times,” Hunter said. “For the most part, I just don’t like doing sports that much. I would much rather be outside, doing things I love, like shooting, fishing, camping, metalworking, a lot of things I can do with my hands.”
After graduation, Hunter plans to attend a tech school with the hopes of becoming a welder. With his experiences in Scouting and now as an Eagle Scout, there’s no doubt Hunter will achieve his goals.
“I’m happy to have been a Scout, I’m happy to still be here, but in the end, I’m happy to be able to call it an end as an Eagle Scout, have that on my resume and keep going,” Hunter said. “This has been a hard-fought 12 years.”