As Scouts, we know how fortunate we are to have a warm meal every night — whether around the campfire or at the kitchen table. And we know that not everyone is so lucky. That’s the genesis of Scouting for Food, the annual food-collection drive run by our local council. It’s another reminder to our local communities that Scouts are here, doing good turns. Our local council sets the date of Scouting for Food. In some councils, it’s in November or December. Others hold their drives in January, February or March.
Weather can affect the outcome of volunteers. Currently Scouting for Food here in Flint River Council takes place on two consecutive weekends. On the first Saturday in February, Scouts distribute bags and/or door hangers to let their neighbors know about the drive. On the second Saturday, Scouts revisit those houses to pick up bags full of canned food, cereal, pasta, peanut butter, juice and other nonperishable items. Two weekends for parents and leaders sadly in today’s busy world are always hard to come by! The food is then delivered to needy families all throughout the council’s borders by local food banks and churches. Happily serving others is a fundamental part of the Boy Scouts of America. And the Scouting for Food program, an annual drive to collect and distribute food to those in need, is a key element of Scouts’ service to their community.
Scouting for Food involves a simple, three-step process:
(1) Distribute bags to houses,
(2) Collect bags full of canned food and other nonperishable goods, and
(3) Deliver the food to a local food bank or aid group.
Seems easy, right? To many of us “NOT EASY!”
But even though the fundamentals of the program are simple, there’s still some finesse involved in making sure things run smoothly. So here are some good alternatives, That I reviewed on Scouting magazine’s official Facebook page and followers on Twitter.
Here are a summary of ideas on how to work smart and increase our collection counts. I need parents & Scouts to think outside the box this year as we start a new way of exceeding our collection expectations.
1). Our unit will be working with a major grocery store in their area for a weekend. Like selling Scout popcorn, Leaders, Scouts and Parents will volunteer to work a set day and time to solicit donations as customers enter and leave the establishment. A prepared statement of request will be used to ask the public to help the “Scouting for Food Program” by depositing non-perishable food donations as they depart the store. We will plan to advertising in the local newspaper with location, date and times. Scouts need to be in uniform. We will be working with our brother Pack 2293 at the Kroger off Lower Fayetteville Road by Summer Grove on Saturday February 8th. 1 hour time slots will be set for groups of scouts with their parents to volunteer. Donations will be put in the troop trailer located by the store for distribution later.
2). If your scout is not helping at Kroger; we are asking if Scout family could ask their personal religious organization if a collection box could be set up for members to make donations as they attend services during a time period…two or three weekends before Scout Sunday? Have your scout address your congregation in uniform and also put it in you church bulletin. If you have a church pantry for those in need; just give us a count of what was collected.
3). Or Scout’s working parents can approach their Human Resource Departments of their employment and see if collection boxes can be set in the entry ways during a set time period. If required, have different Scout units share in the donations. Make it fun! Have a competition between departments…
4). Scouting families can set up collection stations in their neighborhood and local community center. Promote collections via Facebook and Instagram. Or just hit you local neighbors and collect 30 cans or more!
5). It’s time to clean the family pantry and bring your overstock to a meeting before Saturday February 8th.
I feel its time to make a change, the old system is not bringing in the numbers we saw 10 years ago…maybe the above ideas could change that.
If each scout in this troop can do at least 30 cans+ that would be over 1500 cans…WOW!
Yours in Scouting, Jim McCarthy ACC DCS