Usually, persons hearing the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of America are “Scouting for Food” would think the activity is for a merit badge. Local scouting representatives quickly affirm the yearly effort is a win-win effort benefiting local communities and the scouts themselves.
“This is a nationwide effort. Locally, troops will be going door to door putting out the door hangers (for food collection),” said Dogwood District Chairman Kent Moser. “It’s our largest service project for the Scouting organization.” He explained this morning local scouts will meet in area churches, get organized and go out into the communities. Next Saturday they will return to pick up food donations.
Moser said local charities who will receive the food donations include Trinity Episcopal Church Food Pantry Program, Foothills Food Pantry and Yokefellow Ministries.
“The younger members of the organization get to participate as well, which is another strong part of this program,” Moser said. “We’ve put forth a lot of effort studying maps and looking at where troops meet as well as their communities so they will be making an impact to the communities who have helped them whenever possible. I love the way our older scouts have looked out for the younger ones and planned to have them in areas where there is less traffic.”
Scoutmaster Phillip Hart of First Baptist Church Troop 538 said he has seen the benefits of scouts participating through the years.
“This has been going on for years locally as well as nationwide,” said Hart. “It’s a way for them (scouts) to give back to the community locally. It’s a rewarding experience, especially for the younger boys. The boys do get community service hours for participation but the scouts really benefit from seeing how they can have a positive impact when they see a need.”
He said the scouts are particularly excited the following Saturday when they come to pick up the donations. Hart said the local drives in recent years have emphasized non-perishable canned and dry goods being donated with no items in glass containers.
The Boy Scout national web site suggests “Most Wanted Items” to include non-perishable food items, canned protein such as tuna, salmon, chicken or peanut butter, soups and stews, 100 percent fruit juices, grains, pasta, rice, boxed macaroni and cheese, cereals, canned vegetables, canned fruits, condiments and hygiene products such as toothpaste, diapers, tissues, soap and toilet paper.
“We have people who put out whole cases of products like Ensure,” said Hart. “With the loss of mill jobs and the economy locally I feel there has never been a greater need for Surry County. We have had bags donated for this area and we intend to have a hanger and a bag for every door.”
Hart said he has an age range from 11-18 in his troop. He said the boys really enjoy participating in the drive and love to come out and participate.
“It’s not all about the service hours. It’s about them having an impact through community service,” Hart said. “It’s an important experience for them once they get older and realize there are hardships. They see what their peers and community are going through. It’s a tremendous thing for them to feel they can have an impact. Our leaders all enjoy this as well. Watching these kids grow up is so rewarding for us.”
Persons who would like more information on Scouting for Food may contact Kent Moser at 336-786-6932.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.