About 45 Cub Scouts from Pack 483 and 10 By Scouts from Troop 483, along with a number of adults and helpers, gathered at the St. Francois County Courthouse Annex on Saturday before collecting donations in this year’s Scouting for Food drive.
The scout group was just one of many throughout the Parkland retrieving donated food items from homes in their communities through the yearly drive.
Before the groups set out to their assigned neighborhoods in the Farmington area, Cub Master Korene Wille had a surprise announcement.
Earlier that week, Wille was contacted by a person wanting to make a donation for the scout’s food drive. But the donation would not be in cans. Instead, it was in cash — $1,000 to be exact.
Prior to Saturday morning’s collection drive, Wille and Troop 483 Committee Chair Kathy Klusmeyer purchased 1,600 food items with the donation.
“Walmart even had a couple of their employees help us gather and check out,” said Wille.
The tailgates on two vehicles were lifted up in unison, with gasps heard from the scouts as they looked on.
The rear storage areas of both vehicles were packed from floor to ceiling, giving the group a head start on its goal of 3,300 units — the amount the group gathered last year.
Scouts would go on to collect 5,077 food items from the doorsteps of Farmington, bringing the final total to 6,677 units of food. The group collected two times their goal.
The donations filled the beds of six trucks. A total of 2,968 items were taken to the St. Vincent DePaul food pantry and 3,709 were delivered to the Ministerial Alliance food pantry, both in Farmington.
Scouting For Food is the largest one-day food drive conducted by the Boy Scouts of America. Started in 1985 in the St. Louis area, Scouting For Food has expanded to other councils across the country.
More than 47 million items have been collected since 1985. Each year Scouts, leaders and parents collect approximately two million items that serve approximately 500 pantries within the Greater St. Louis Area Council, which includes the St. Louis metropolitan area, southeast Missouri and southern Illinois. The annual collection traditionally meets a four-month demand for food.
The local troops are a part of the Ozark Trailblazers district, which covers six counties — Madison, Reynolds, Washington, Iron, Ste. Genevieve and St. Francois.