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Scouts throughout Southeastern Idaho and Western Wyoming were out in force Saturday picking up canned goods and non-perishable food items in their communities. The food items were contributed to local food banks for distribution.
The Grand Teton Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) kicked off its annual "Scouting for Food" drive with distribution of the door hangers to local residences starting the week of Oct. 15. Food collection started at 9 a.m. last Saturday.
Scouting For Food involves several hundred young men (Scouts) in every community.
This year the Grand Teton Council collected 354,662 food items with the help of over 9,700 adult leaders and youth.
In Bingham County, 175 participants in BSA Bing Pow District (American Falls/Aberdeen) collected 12,460 canned goods and non-perishable items.
The 979 scout participants in Blackfoot (BSA Blackfoot District) collected 26,122 food items.
In Shelley/Firth (BSA Wolverine District), 314 participants collected 15,524 canned goods.
The Grand Teton Council of the BSA covers all of Southeastern Idaho and Western Wyoming. In this geographic area, 9,788 individuals collected 344,662 canned goods and non-perishable items.
Itâ€™s estimated 293,650 individuals will be served meals from this food drive.
â€śAs the food was coming in, we could tell it was a lot less than last year,â€ť said Bobette Beesley, director of the South East Idaho Community Action Agency (SEICAA) in Blackfoot. â€śWith the holidays coming, it is a concern.
Last year, Boy Scouts collected nearly 42,000 pounds of food that was contributed to SEICAA. About 70 percent of foodÂ distributed by SEICAAÂ last year came from Scouting or Food. Donations are down about 16,000 pounds this year.
â€śLocal schools also have food drives,â€ť Beesley said. â€śPeople can contribute to those food drives.â€ť
Contributions can also be made through the Boy Scouts.
In Southeast Idaho, Scouting For Food is one of the yearly service projects that every unit plans on performing for the good of the community.
Scouts are asked to â€śknock on the doorâ€ť of those homes where they left a door hanger. This kind gesture is to remind the people of our community if they find no food on the doorstep.
One such young man, seeing no food on the doorstep, rang the doorbell. As the family came to the door, he noticed it was a single parent family, with no furniture in the home and few amenities. Without saying anything he ran back to the pickup truck, pulled a couple sacks of food from the back end and marched back up to the lady and her children waiting at the door.
"The need is greater than ever before. With an increase of disadvantaged and homeless people in our area this year, we definitely need some help feeding those less fortunate than ourselves," Beesley said. "The more food donated the better, as demand is projected to go up in the future."
Although the "Scouting for Food" program helps alleviate hunger in our area, there are some side benefits too.
Brian Porter, Grand Teton Council Finance & Public Relations Director, added, "Not only does the program go a long way towards feeding the hungry in our area, but the Scouts learn valuable lessons in performing a needed service for their communities. They definitely achieve a sense of pride in helping others."
If you forget to put your bag out or no one picked it up, bring it by your local scout office.Â For more information on Scouting For Food, contact your local Boy Scout Service Center at either 522-5155 or 233-4600. In Blackfoot, call 785-1622 or email Elias Lopez, Senior District Executive, at email@example.com.