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Home»Programs»Scouting for Food»FAQs about Scouting for Food

Frequently Asked Questions About Scouting for Food

QUESTION: What is Scouting for Food?
ANSWER: Scouting for Food in the Greater St. Louis Area Council is the largest single-day food drive in the Boy Scouts of America. The Good Turn was created in our council and performed during two Saturdays each November:
  • Bag Distribution Day: more than one million plastic shopping bags will be hung on doorknobs throughout St. Louis, southeast Missouri and southern Illinois
  • Bag Collection Day: Scouts pick up the bags filled with donated canned goods. The canned goods are distributed by area food pantries to help the needy.
Q: Why do the St. Louis Boy Scouts organize Scouting For Food?
A: As an organization, the Boy Scouts are dedicated to giving back to their communities. Scouting for Food teaches youths the value of helping others. "Do a good turn daily," is the Scout slogan and, "to help other people at all times," is one of the planks of the Scout Oath.

Q: How does the food get from my pantry to the homes of the needy?
A: After the Scouts retrieve the bags filled with canned goods from area residences in St. Louis City and County, the items are delivered to 50 local firehouses, where items are boxed. (Outside of the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, the donations are taken directly to food pantries.)  Once the canned goods are boxed, they are taken to the St. Louis Area Food Bank by Sunset Transportation, using 35 trucks and tractor trailers. The Food Bank distributes the boxes of food to more than 450 food pantries in the St. Louis area, with an additional 154 pantries in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois receiving boxes directly. The canned good donations are available on pantry shelves to feed the needy within days.

Q: Who participates in Scouting for Food?
A: More than 30,000 Scouts, their parents, and Scout leaders take part in Scouting for Food by distributing bags and collecting the canned goods. Volunteers from the St. Louis Area Food Bank help organize and package the canned goods the Scouts collect for distribution to area food pantries. Additional support for the campaign comes from Sunset Transportation.

Q: What area does this support?
A: The Scouting for Food program collects donations across 37 counties in Missouri and Illinois, and provides food to more than 500 food pantries in St. Louis, southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.

Q: How many people does this feed? How many cans do you get?
A: In any given week, 43,580 different people receive assistance from the St. Louis Area Food Bank and an estimated 147,113 different people are helped annually. This single-day food drive raises approximately 25 percent of the yearly food supply area for food pantries and feeds the community for three months.

Q: What should I give as a donation? What does a perfect bag look like?
A: Eating a variety of healthful food in sensible amounts is important for all, and this can be particularly challenging for families in need. While all donations are appreciated, be sure to practice thoughtful giving this season. Registered dietitian Roberta L. Duyff suggests donating a variety of nutritious items, such as cans of chili, soups, tuna, pasta sauce, evaporated milk, fruit and vegetables. This gives hungry families more of what they need.

Q: With so many Scouts distributing bags and collecting cans in neighborhoods, are there ever any accidents or injuries?
A: Safety is always a key focus of Bag Distribution and Bag Collection Days. All Scouts are given safety guidelines before each Saturday event, and the units are accompanied by their Scout leader and parent volunteers. With tens of thousands of participants traversing the roadways, both Scouts and drivers alike are encouraged to exercise caution on these two November Saturdays. It is recommended that drivers be careful when backing out of driveways and reduce their speed by 5 to 10 miles per hour while traveling in subdivisions. Drive Safe and Slow, Scouts are on the Go.