Battle Ground’s 2020 Citizen of the Year helped keep hungry families fed


Scott Keller organized a USDA food box program and helped hand out over 15,000 boxes of food last year

BATTLE GROUND — A common sight during this pandemic year has been a line of vehicles working their way through the Lewisville Intermediate campus in Battle Ground, as dozens of volunteers hand out boxes of food to families in need.

The man behind that food box program was recognized for his efforts this week with the 2020 Battle Ground Citizen of the Year award.

Scott Keller, 2020 Battle Ground Citizen of the Year, poses with Kendra Laratta, owner of Ink Ability, which made the plaque. Photo by Mike Schultz
Scott Keller, 2020 Battle Ground Citizen of the Year, poses with Kendra Laratta, owner of Ink Ability, which made the plaque. Photo by Mike Schultz

This was the first time the award nominations were done online, and spokesperson Stefanie Adams said all of the votes for Scott Keller left them with an easy choice to make.

“Who knew that the US Department of Agriculture gave grants away to communities through their Farmers to Families program?” Adams asked rhetorically during an award ceremony Saturday morning ahead of another food box giveaway. “Scott Keller did.”

Keller, who runs a consulting firm in Battle Ground and used to work as a teacher, helped to secure the grant by the end of September, then recruited dozens of volunteers to collect the food boxes and distribute them each Saturday morning.

The group distributed 15,000 food boxes by the end of last year.

“Roughly 265 tons of food, equaling 500,000 plates on the tables of so many Battle Ground families,” cited Adams. “Well over a million dollars of value but, of course, priceless to our neighbors.”

Stefanie Adams with the Battle Ground Citizen of the Year committee speaks during an award ceremony on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Stefanie Adams with the Battle Ground Citizen of the Year committee speaks during an award ceremony on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz

Adams was quick to point out that there were numerous other nominations for the award illuminating a great number of individuals who stepped up in Battle Ground during an especially difficult year, but perhaps no one touched more lives than Keller.

“As one person wrote in their nomination form,” said Adams, “‘my hours were cut, my wife was laid off. Our three homeschooling kids tend to eat a lot. This has really helped with our meals. There would be so many more hungry people in this community if it weren’t for Scott.’”

Keller called the honor a “humbling experience,” and quickly took his moment after receiving the plaque to credit the men and women who have shown up each Saturday.

“This recognition, I accept it, but also accept on your behalf,” Keller said. “You know, we’re doing great work here. I can’t really say anything else other than ‘Thank you.’”

In a post later on the Battle Ground Citizen of the Year Facebook page, Keller was slightly more expressive.

“Covid 19 has presented us with many challenges, but also opportunities to find ways to lend a hand,” he wrote. “I have been so inspired by the quick willingness of the people of Battle Ground to rally around opportunities to help others. We live in a truly special community.”

Scott Keller, along with wife Jennifer, at the 2020 Battle Ground Citizen of the Year ceremony on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Scott Keller, along with wife Jennifer, at the 2020 Battle Ground Citizen of the Year ceremony on Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz

Keller was also quick to point out the long list of organizations, including several local churches, that stepped in to buy tents and other supplies to help keep people and boxes dry in the rain.

Each week, as many as 50 volunteers have shown up to help with transporting the food boxes, and then making sure they’re handed out to families who need them.

“Their commitment to showing others they care and the message of hope and encouragement that they impart to those picking up boxes, inspires me everyday,” wrote Keller. “Their gift of time is priceless.”

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