Scouts nationwide gather food for needy

More than 200,000 LDS young men were among 2 million Scouts nationwide who collected close to 100 million food items in the annual Scouting for Food effort.

Around the country, Scout units passed out bags door-to-door the week prior to Nov. 17, then spent that Saturday collecting sacks loaded with non-perishable foodstuffs.After the goods were gathered, they were taken to local food banks, to be distributed to the needy throughout the coming year.

"Service is a great tenet of the Church and of Scouting, and this is a great opportunity to help other people," said Bob Mills, director of Mormon Relationships for Boy Scouts of America. "At this Thanksgiving season when our hearts are filled with gratitude, it is a wonderful time for young men to go out and do something very worthwhile for the less fortunate."

Scouting for Food does as much as any other effort to alleviate the problem of hunger in the United States. Hunger is what Scout leaders call one of the "unacceptable" problems needing special effort to overcome. Boy Scouts of America officials estimate that the amount of food collected during the Nov. 17 drive would feed the nation's hungry for three months. An estimated 20 million Americans, including some 4 million children, go hungry at some point every month, according to BSA figures.

In most areas, however, goods collected are distributed throughout the year with other commodities from other sources. In the Salt Lake City area, for instance, food banks "just barely ran out from what was collected last year," noted Warren E. Shepherd, executive in the BSA Great Salt Lake Council responsible for Scouting for Food. "This effort is a tremendous attribute to young men in helping develop their character."