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Boy Scouts annual food drive helps feed Utah’s hungry

May 08, 2018 01:19PM ● Published by Jennifer Gardiner

Canned foods were among the items that could be donated during the Boy Scouts annual food drive. (Pixabay)

By Jennifer Gardiner | j.gardiner@mycityjournals.com

On March 15, Governor Gary R. Herbert kicked off the 32nd annual Scouting for Food event by being the first to donate to this year’s food drive benefiting the Utah Food Bank, several regional food banks and many emergency pantries across Utah. Herbert was joined by Brigadier Gen. Dallen S. Atack, Assistant Adjutant General of the Utah National Guard and representatives from Boy Scouts of America. 

He hoped to encourage others to donate to the food drive. 

Two days later, the Utah Food Bank and agencies from across the state worked with the Boy Scouts of America during the annual Scouting For Food. 

About a week prior to the food drive, Scouts went door-to-door to hand out fliers and encourage residents to leave perishable food items on their doorstep to be picked up and delivered to the food banks on the morning of the official drive.

Scouting for Food has impacted an estimated 392,000 Utahns struggling with hunger by providing over 22 million pounds of food and close to $32,000, the equivalent of almost 19 million meals since 1997 alone. This year they anticipated to go well over the 20 million meal goal.

With one in six Utah children facing hunger, providing youth the chance to give back to those who could be classmates, neighbors or friends makes Scouting for Food even more significant on the lives of those who participate

“It is so rewarding to see the Boy Scouts of America, the Utah National Parks Council, the Trapper Trails Council, the Great Salt Lake Council and the Utah National Guard all working together to help fight hunger within their own communities,” said Ginette Bott, Utah Food Bank chief development officer.

A lot of cities from around the state participated in the drive, including those who gathered in South Jordan and American Fork. Participating organizations included Community Action, Tabitha’s Way and the Utah Food Bank. The ultimate goal is to fight hunger statewide.

“It is so rewarding to see these youth and their leaders all working together to help fight hunger within their own communities,” said Al Switzler of Tabitha’s Way. “You can’t tell if someone is hungry just by looking at them. They look a lot like you and me, and they need our help.”

The food banks are always taking donations. The most-needed food items include rice, pasta, cereal, chili, peanut butter, boxed meals, canned meats and canned fruits, and even non-food items such as diapers, toilet paper and hygiene items. Donated food should be commercially packaged (non-glass), non-perishable and nutritious items (low-sodium and low-sugar items).

Community Action Services and Food Bank has been serving Utah, Wasatch and Summit counties since 1967. Its mission is to foster self-reliance in individuals, families and the community. Last year, Community Action helped thousands of families with food, housing, utility and other assistance, and provided community gardens, a commercial kitchen, financial literacy and homebuyer education.

For more information about Scouting for Food, or to find a local food pantry, you can visit www.utahfoodbank.org/scouting or www.communityaction.org

The Utah Food Bank was founded in 1904 and has operated under various names but remains true to its mission of fighting hunger statewide by providing food to a network of 149 emergency food pantries and agencies. Last year, Utah Food Bank distributed 39.2 million pounds of food and goods, the equivalent of approximately 32.7 million meals, to families and individuals in need.

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