Local Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs were out in their respective neighborhoods Saturday as the first step in the annual Scouting for Food Good Turn.
Scouts from Pilot Mountain 545, Pinnacle 400 and Shoals 561 went into their communities letting residents know that they’ll be returning this Saturday morning with hopes of collecting food for those with need in their neighborhoods.
Between 35-40 scouts from Pilot Mountain 545 left bags donated by Food Lion at area homes throughout the area. According to Troop 545 Scout Master Donnie Diamont, a good turnout of Cub Scouts took the routes in and around downtown that could be covered primarily on foot while about 20 Boy Scouts, divided in small groups, were assigned the more rural routes.
In their bags, scouts left instruction cards from the national Boy Scouts of America describing the Scouting For Food program and encouraging participation. Residents are asked to place non-perishable food in the bag and leave it on their front porch or driveway by 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Those taking part are asked to omit glass and perishable items from their donations.
On Saturday, scouts and accompanying adults will retrace their routes, collecting bags of food. All donations will then be delivered to the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center.
“We’re asking residents to fill up their bags and have them waiting for us,” Diamont explained. “Any bag will do, we just ask that they be on the front porch for collection.”
According to Diamont, the annual effort is a point of emphasis for the scouts. Group leaders talk to scouts, making sure each knows why the food is being collected and how it will benefit their community.
The Scouting For Food Good Turn program was launched in 1988 by the Boy Scouts of America and the Old Hickory Council to help meet the needs of the hungry. The program has since become an annual project for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts throughout northwestern North Carolina.
Each year the project is timed to coincide with the anniversary of Scouting in America. According to the Boy Scouts of America National Council, the Boy Scout organization was founded in Great Britain in 1907 by British military hero Lord Robert Baden-Powell. Two years later, William D. Boyce, a Chicago publisher traveling in London, became lost in a fog. A young boy helped him find his way. When Boyce thanked the boy for his aid and offered him a tip, the boy declined, explaining that it was his duty as a Scout to help others.
Impressed with the boy’s actions, Boyce met with Baden-Powell and laid the groundwork to bring Scouting to the United States. With the help of Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard and James E. West, the Boy Scouts of America was established on February 8, 1910.
Diamont said this year’s project has already gotten off to a strong start.
“We had several people come up to us as we were putting out the bags,” he explained, “and offer to give us food then. We were glad to take it. This is too important to make people wait to give.”