As the holiday season approaches, food banks across the country are anticipating an increased need for food assistance. The Greater St. Louis Area Council will help meet this need with its 30th annual Scouting for Food drive this weekend.
The Scouting for Food drive, which began 30 years ago as an Eagle Scout project, has grown into the region’s largest one-day food drive. On Saturday, Nov. 15, more than 30,000 Scouts, leaders, and volunteers in the St. Louis area will set out into area neighborhoods to collect donated nonperishable food items in Scouting for Food bags that Scouts distributed earlier in the week.
Last year, Scouting for Food collected 2.1 million items, enough for more than 560,000 meals. To commemorate St. Louis’ 250th anniversary, this year the Boy Scouts’ goal is to collect 2.5 million food items.
“Scouting for Food is an incredibly important event in our community,” said Ron Green, Scout executive of the Greater St. Louis Area Council. “It is a simple, cost-effective way residents can help those who are less fortunate in our communities. St. Louis has always been generous and the Scouts are thrilled to work in area neighborhoods to collect canned and nonperishable food donations.”
Canned good donations in the St. Louis area are taken to local fire stations to be boxed and loaded onto trailers. Volunteer drivers coordinated by Sunset Transportation Inc. transport the food to the St. Louis Area Foodbank for further distribution through a network of more than 500 partner agencies. In southeast Missouri and southern Illinois, Scouts take donations directly to local food pantries. Within 48 hours of the Scouts’ pickup, the first donations are on food pantry shelves, ready to feed the hungry.
“With the winter months approaching, we know that the strain on the food pantries we serve is going to increase as families are forced to cut their food budget in order to keep their heat on or pay for much-needed medicine,” said Frank Finnegan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Area Foodbank. “The Scouting for Food drive goes a long way toward helping those families from having to make tough choices.”
Residents whose bags are missed Saturday can call 314-361-0600 in St. Louis, 573-335-3346 in southeast Missouri, or 618-942-4863 in southern Illinois. Those wanting to give more nonperishable food items after Nov. 15 can drop off donations at any Regions Bank Nov. 17-21.