The Boy Scouts' annual Scouting for Food event will return but things will be slightly different this year.
"This year scouts will not be passing out bags or picking up door-to-door in our area," Troop 0027G Scout Master Deena Ward said. "What we will be offering is drop off locations."
Those in the Madison County area can drop off non-perishable goods at the Scout Hut on East Marvin in Fredericktown from 9 a.m. to noon. Saturday. Those in St. Francois County can drop off items at Harps Food Stores in Park Hills and the Park Hills Public Library anytime before Dec. 12.
Ward said this change is because of all the restrictions in place due to COVID-19. She said this is an effort to keep the scouts safe.
"All of our scouts have been disappointed this year, starting with the news summer camp was canceled," Ward said. "We have basically been waiting this entire year to be able to scout it out."
The Scouting for Food event began in St. Louis in 1985 and is now in its 36th year. The one-day food drive usually has more than 30,000 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Venturers collect approximately 2 million cans of food.
Ward said this is an easy way for the community to help feed the hungry right here in the community but also provide a teachable moment for the youth.
"None of this would be possible without the generous donations from the community," Ward said. "Every donation is going to help your neighbor, your coworker, your classmate, your child's friend, because all of the donations stay here and help our local community."
Ward said the community has always been a huge supporter of Scouting for Food and has been very gracious when it comes to donating items. She said everything donated stays in the community and is taken to the local food pantry.
"This year, with COVID-19, has created a greater need than ever for this event," Ward said. "Many people have found themselves out of work or quarantined. Several students are still at home with virtual learning making for higher food and utility bills."
Ward said through the many scenarios caused by COVID-19, this has put a strain on the community and the local food pantry which is trying to fill the needs.
Suggested items for donations include canned fruits and vegetables, meals in a box or can soups, macaroni and cheese, Hamburger Helper and items that are high in protein such as canned tuna and chicken or chili and beef stew.
Ward said similar to years past, it is requested that no items be in glass containers. She said with children helping to collect and the large amount of donations the risk of breaking a glass container is high.
Donations can also be made through Boy Scouts of America's text-to-give campaign. Text "SCOUTFOOD" to 91999 to donate through the campaign.
"This event is great for our kids," Ward said. "It teaches them the importance of giving back to the community and helping providing help to those in need."
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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