Boy Scouts food drive nears 250,000 pounds
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Saturday, Feb. 08, 2014

Boy Scouts food drive nears 250,000 pounds

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/05/13/27/IQiv7.Em.138.jpeg|209
    - MARTY MINCHIN
    Chris Day, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 140, helps scouts load a trailer full of food at Cross & Crown Lutheran Church in Matthews. The Pack collected almost 1,400 pounds of food from surrounding neighborhoods.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/05/13/27/XDSo3.Em.138.jpeg|246
    - MARTY MINCHIN
    Cubs Scouts from Pack 140, which meets in Matthews, show off a full trailer of food they collected in the annual Scouting for Food food drive last week.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/05/13/27/dhLXq.Em.138.jpeg|209
    - MARTY MINCHIN
    Scouts from Cub Scout Pack 140, which meets at Cross & Crown Lutheran Church in Matthews, unload bags of food collected in the annual Scouting for Food food drive. The pack collected almost 1,400 pounds of food from surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Loaves and Fishes accepts food and monetary donations year-round at its 19 food pantries and other locations in the Charlotte area. For more information, visit www.loavesandfishes.org or call 704-523-4333.

The Boy Scouts annual Scouting for Food drive is on track to bring in more than 250,000 pounds of food for Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.

That’s enough to keep the shelves stocked for three months.

“It’s just an essential drive for Loaves and Fishes to get through the winter,” said Beverly Howard, executive director of Loaves and Fishes.

The boost in donations comes at an especially essential time this year, as Howard expects to see an increase in families needing food after the recent cold weather and snowstorm.

In the coming weeks, many families will see higher utility bills resulting from January’s extreme cold temperatures in the Charlotte area. Others lost wages while their places of employment were closed due to icy roads last week.

“When you’re living on the edge, you can’t really sustain much of an emergency without something being left out,” Howard said. “We’re here so people can pay that utility bill or pay the rent and not have to pay for groceries that week.”

Loaves and Fishes provides individuals and families in short-term crises with a week of nutritious groceries. The organization primarily works with people who are working or recently stopped working.

Scouting for Food is the primary service project of the Mecklenburg County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, encouraging scouts to “do a good turn daily.”

The food drive has been held for more than 20 years, and seven years ago it topped 100,000 pounds for the first time. In recent years, participation from scouting groups and food collections have regularly increased.

The drive begins with scouts of all ages leaving brown grocery bags on doorsteps around the county with notes asking people to fill them with food. A week later, scouts collect the bags and the food is taken to collection centers around the city.

Food also is collected at church’s Sunday services and in bins at Harris Teeter stores.

The final totals aren’t yet in for 2014, as collections at Harris Teeters and churches continued over the weekend. Donations can be made at Harris Teeter bins through Feb. 10.

Four truckloads of food have been delivered to Loaves and Fishes.

“It’s just a wonderful partnership,” Howard said.

Del Whittaker, chairman of the 2014 Scouting for Food drive, said Scouts distributed more bags this year than in 2013, and more scouting units participated.

The goal is to provide Loaves and Fishes with enough food so that no one is turned away. Howard said that the agency continues to have enough to meet clients’ needs.

The community continues to become more aware of the food drive, and many people now look for the bags each winter. The 2014 collections, Whittaker said, are “phenomenal.”

“We are teaching a whole generation to do their best and help other people at all times,” Whittaker said. “This is scouting in action.”

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Email her with story ideas at martyminchin@gmail.com.

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