Jacob Lima received assistance from his Troop 455 with the donation items. Photo provided by Alayne Lima.

Hollister resident Jacob Lima had just turned 17 years old on April 1, 2021, when he began planning his Eagle Scout project for his Boy Scout Troop 455.

Jacob Lima and My Father’s House director, Linda Lampe. Photo provided by Alayne Lima.

Lima had been a scout for 11 years, first as a Cub Scout from first to fifth grade, and then as a Boy Scout from sixth to 12th grade. The Boy Scouts of America explains the requirements for an Eagle Rank: a scout must “earn a total of 21 merit badges,” such as in first aid, camping, cooking, and personal management, and that “scouts may earn these awards until their 18th birthday.” 

With a year until his 18th birthday, Lima felt comfortable with the timeline he had. He decided to do a blood drive in Hollister as his project. However, he realized the idea would be difficult to execute, especially since COVID-19 guidelines prevented him from moving forward with the project. 

“All of the requirements that I needed were to be done in person, and you can’t really do that during COVID,” he said. But even after COVID restrictions were lifted, Lima said he had not received any responses back from those he had contacted to assist with a blood drive. 

As his 18th birthday quickly approached, Lima decided in January to take his project in another direction by collecting jackets for the homeless. His project, called Warmth for the Homeless, was a group effort that included his troop members and contributing community members. 

He began passing out flyers on Feb. 23 with help from his troop and setting up a collection site at the Hollister Veterans Memorial Building. 

“You have to get all kinds of people involved when you work on your Eagle Scout project,” said Mary Damm, Lima’s project mentor. “It’s not a single-person project. It’s all about leadership and organization.”

Damm not only volunteers with the Silicon Valley Monterey Council Boy Scouts San Benito District, but she also serves on the executive board for the council and on the San Benito District Committee.

She said Lima’s goal was to collect 100 jackets, hoodies and other accessory clothing to distribute to Community Homeless Solutions, My Father’s House, and the Emmaus House. 

Lima said he collected close to 500 articles of clothing by his March 5 deadline. On March 6, Troop 455 assisted him in delivering the clothing items to the three non-profit organizations. Lima’s mom, Alayne Lima, said the collection of children’s clothing and accessories would be given to the Emmaus House, since it’s the only organization that has children as guests.

Lima has now completed the requirements of his project. “I just have my final Board of Review meeting on April 21,” he said.

Community Homeless Solutions’ Hollister Program Manager Fernando Galindo told BenitoLink, “This is one of the biggest donations we’ve ever received.”

Jacob Lima and Community Homeless Solutions program manager Fernando Galindo. Photo provided by Alayne Lima.
Jacob Lima and Community Homeless Solutions program manager Fernando Galindo. Photo provided by Alayne Lima.

“This is going to go to all of the guests that we have,” Galindo said. “They’ll have a chance to go through it. And then we’ll store them in bins so that when a new guest comes in, we’ll ask if they have clothing or not—a lot of them don’t come with anything. We’ll get a bunch of clothes ready for them and get together a wardrobe that will last for about a week.” 

Lima said he is thankful to his supporters in helping him reach his goal and give back to the community.

“I’m a 17 year old kid dealing with a crazy high school life, trying to fill out packets and forms, and it’s like planning a whole project—like I was being my own project manager,” he said. “My parents were there to guide me through it and help me and give me support. Mary Damm, as well.” 

“Jake could not have completed his project without his mentor Mary Damm,” said Alayne. “Mary spent hours with him helping him plan his project, meeting with the correct people, and ensuring all his paperwork was complete. Ultimately Jake had to have all the ideas and carry out the project with the help of his troop, but there is lots of work to be done to prepare.”  

One year after his original project idea, Lima said he is happy his final project can bring literal warmth to those community members who need it.

“I think everything happens for a reason—there was a reason I did this project,” he said.

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Jenny is a Hollister native who resides in her hometown with her husband and son. She attended Hollister schools, graduated from San Benito High School, and earned her bachelor’s degree in literature...