Saturday is a chance to give back to the community on the eve of the Thanksgiving season by donating food items to the Scouting For Food program, which is the largest one-day food drive in the Boy Scouts of America.
Ron James, a Boy Scout leader for several decades and Wildwood resident, said this food donation initiative actually started in St. Louis and then spread to other Scouting councils throughout the United States.
Since Scouting For Food's launch in 1985 in the St. Louis area, more than 43 million pounds of items have been collected.
"I always remind my Scouts that when they sit down to a great Thanksgiving meal to remember that they helped someone else to have a good meal as well," said James.
All the food picked up in and goes to the , which is located at the lower level of the . Pantry volunteers each year indicate the contributions come at a critical time to help them make it through the winter in supplying food to people in need.
Eureka Scout volunteer Shay Hawkins for local points out this food drive also involves Cub Scout Packs. "Which means that many of the older boys have been participating in Scouting For Food for many years," she said.
Hawkins said the highlight for Scouts usually is unloading all the food at the pantry and visibly seeing the amount that is collected. "It is a great lesson to show the boys the importance of working together and putting into action the Scout slogan of 'Do a good turn daily.'"
"Something that I have seen in the years that my son has gotten to participate in this event is those that have the least, tend to give the most," said Hawkins. "That is why I think it is so important for our community to know how much of an impact they can make just by donating a little."
Another Eureka Scout volunteer, Michelle Detering for , said 24 Scouts and 12 parents covered the 8 square miles of Wildwood, stretching from the southern side of north to Babler Park Drive. The beautiful weather Saturday allowed the Scouts to distribute more than 700 bags to homes throughout the area, she said.
Scouts from Troop 456 who participated Saturday include Daniel Underwood, Jerome Bredahl, Jared Lovemark, Andrew Mallon, Drew Stockell, Payton Ables, Jasper Ables, Jordan Shirley, Christian Mannecke, Kyle Shirley, Forest Downer, Jacob Detering, Luke Detering, Clayton Moll, Ashwin Garlapaty, Chris Palmer, Tucker Jordan, Peyton Stephens, Cade Stephens, Austin Blaylock, Hunter Smith, Jacob Dahm, Wil Brown and Brian Bredahl.
Detering indicated the Boy Scouts of America describes the perfect donation bag for this program contains:
- two cans of hearty soup, stew or chili: Supplies many nutrients.
- two cans of tuna, chicken, salmon or luncheon meat (e.g., Spam): Contains protein and iron. Canned salmon is a source of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
- one can of fruit: Supplies vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, fiber and other healthy substances.
- one can of 100 percent pure fruit juice: Contains vitamin C and often beta carotene.
- one can of vegetables: Supplies beta carotene, vitamin C, folate, complex carbohydrates, fiber and potassium.
- one can of tomato or pasta sauce: Contains lycopene, a healthy substance that is more available to your body in canned and cooked tomatoes than in fresh.
- one canned meal: Offers a variety of ingredients and nutrients.
- one can of beans: Contains plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber.
- one can of evaporated milk: Makes an excellent source of calcium and protein.
Scouting for Food requires the following area resources, according to staffers of the Greater St. Louis Area Council:
- 30,000 Scouts (1,000 Scout units)
- 10,000 Volunteers (Scout leaders and families)
- 1.4 million bags
- 43,000 boxes
- 37 counties
- 46 fire stations