It’s a cold fall morning and I’m standing in my Boy Scout uniform waiting for the first wave of vehicles to arrive. Normally I wouldn’t be up this early, especially on Saturday morning, but today I’m here and ready to work all day because I believe my effort is for a good cause.
The good cause I’m talking about is the Boy Scouts annual Scouting for Food food drive. This community service activity is one I have been doing since my first year as a Boy Scout and it is one of the community service events that is especially near and dear to my heart.
I know Scouting for Food has become more important to me over the years because I’ve had an opportunity to serve in many different roles at this event. The first few years that I worked at this event, I worked with the people who collected, weighed, and prepared the donated food to be sent to the different distribution sites. Sometimes, especially during the busiest part of the day, we had lots of food coming in and it was difficult to unload the trucks and cars quickly. But no one was ever angry or in too much of a rush to get finished–it seemed like everyone really was enjoying their job. And all we did once things were weighed is load them back up into another truck or trailer. It was amazing to watch the small donations grow when everything was loaded up together and I knew I was part of something bigger because of what I saw happen with the food and the workers.
I have also had a few opportunities to collect food for this event from individual donors. The Boy Scouts in our troop will go to houses or make calls to ask for canned food items and usually when we go to someone’s home and ask for food, the person who answers the door always wants to donate something. It is an opportunity for anyone to give something they have to help another person and I have seen how good this makes the people who give one or two items feel too.
Just to give you an idea of what a big event this is in our community and what a big impact it makes in collecting donations for people who need food from the Idaho Food Bank, the Nampa Care House Food Bank, or the local shelters, two years ago the Boy Scouts from the Nampa area collected and sorted over 37,000 pounds of canned, nonperishable food items. This was done over two weekends with more than 300 Boy Scouts, many parents, and lots of other adults helping out to make this a successful event. Last year the Boy Scouts of America in Nampa grew their donations by over 2,000 pounds for more than 39,000 pounds collected and the group I work with served more than sixty hours to get this accomplished. It is pretty clear that the importance of this event to Boy Scouts and our community is shown by how much food is collected and and how passionate some of the people who work at this are.
Another reason I can say that this is something Boy Scouts and our community are passionate about it is that although Scouting for Food is a national Boy Scout activity, the purpose is always to collect the items locally and then distribute everything locally to the individuals and families who live here and need food. Scouting for Food is really an opportunity for all of us to help our neighbors and the Boy Scouts make that possible.
The Greater Saint Louis Area Council of Boy Scouts of America held the first Scouting For Food in 1985, but the idea of helping others is not new to scouting. One of the core ideas of Boy Scouts is to “do a good turn daily” which just means to do something extra, something good for someone else every day. Scouting for Food is held on two weekends, but we know the food collected will definitely be doing good for lots of people in our community for many days.
Now you may be asking yourself how do I get involved and “do a good turn” by helping with Scouting for Food well there are multiple ways you can help out: The first and easiest way would be to donate food during the Scouting for Food event. Another way to help others would be finding a place to volunteer like the Salvation Army or another place that serves others. You could also volunteer to help with the Scouting for Food event or maybe you could even get involved with a local Boy Scout troop because sometimes it might just be one person who needs you. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you will always have a canned food item to donate when you see the Boy Scouts collecting for Scouting for Food and be reminded this truly represents scouting, being a Boy Scout is all about doing a good turn daily.