The Boy Scouts annual event Scouting for Food will return this year with bags being distributed Nov. 10 and being collected Nov. 17.
This year's event makes the 34th year of the largest one-day food drive in the Boy Scouts of America. Starting in St. Louis in 1985 it has spread to scout councils all over the country.
"Communities from St. Louis to Carbondale, Illinois, to Kennett, Missouri participate in Scouting for Food and together we collect around two million food items each year which is enough to provide more than one million meals for those in need," Ozark Trailblazers, District Executive Adam Hinds said. "Scouts make is easy for you to help others, we do all the heavy lifting."
Hinds said this is an important community event and it could not be done without the help of neighbors.
The event will begin on Nov. 10 when scouts will distribute bags across Fredericktown to let neighbors know about the drive. Then on Nov. 17 they will return to those houses and pick up the bags filled with canned food, cereal, pasta, peanut butter, juice and other nonperishable items.
"This is an all hands on deck event," Hinds said. "Expect to see a wide range of scouts and adult volunteers out and about during Scouting for Food."
Hinds said all donations stay local to help those here in our communities and donations will be delivered directly to local food pantries in Fredericktown.
Suggested items for donations include canned fruits and vegetables, meals in a box or can soups, mac n cheese, hamburger helper and items that are high in protein such as canned tuna and chicken or chili and beef stew.
Hinds said it is requested that no items be in glass containers.
Safety is important to the Boy Scouts as they set forth to accomplish this task. Hinds said scouts are asked to be in full uniform and to travel in groups of two or more. They are also asked to use sidewalks at all times and are to be monitored and transported by adults at all times. Hinds added that scouts will not be permitted to enter apartment buildings with multiple units that use a single-entry door that would allow a scout to be out of sight from the street.
"It's a great lesson for our kids," Hinds said. "It teaches them the importance of providing services to others. It goes to show you that no matter how young you are, you can still make a big difference in our community."
Hinds said if someone does not receive a bag or forgets to put out food on Nov. 17, they can drop off food donations at any Goodwill location from Nov. 18 to 24.
"Or residents can take food year-round to any of the local food pantries right here in Fredericktown," Hinds said. "All of the food donations stay local to help those right here in our communities. It's great that our community comes together for things like this."
Monetary donations are discouraged because of their difficulty to track especially when the majority of the work force are young scouts. However, if desired donations can be submitted by check to Greater St. Louis Area Council and all monetary donations will be combined into one big check to the St. Louis Area Food Bank.