Scout packs and troops from Pilot Mountain, Shoals and Pinnacle went to homes in their respective communities Saturday morning, collecting bags filled with canned and non-perishable donations of food. The effort was the final step in this year’s annual Scouting for Food Good Turn food drive.
The previous Saturday had seen scouts distribute door hangers throughout the three communities, notifying residents of the drive and asking for bagged donations of food supplies.
Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, leaders and parents from Pilot Mountain #545, Shoals #561 and Pinnacle #400 returned to each area to collect donations before delivering the gathered food to the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center.
“The scouts always do a good job,” noted PMOC Co-Director Jimmy Caparolie, “We appreciate their efforts. Saturday morning was really cold but the kids didn’t let it bother them. They worked hard and did great. And I was impressed with how the troops stayed to help each other.”
While the overall amount of donations was down, all troops reported good participation.
Pilot Mountain #545 reported collecting 1,560 pounds of food, with 39 youths and 15 adults taking part.
“This is an important way for us to help out in our community,” Troop 545 Scoutmaster Donnie Diamont said, “and we want the scouts to be aware of that. Every year we try to make sure the younger members coming into the troop know why we’re doing this and what the day is about.”
Shoals Troop # 561 reported good participation from Scouts, leaders and parents in gathering 3,070 pounds of food. Participants were divided into 13 routes covering the Shoals community with the Shoals Fire Station used as a central collection point.
“We appreciate everybody that helped out and those that donated as well as the fire department for letting us gather at the station,” noted troop representative Sheila Cox. “It was really cold but everybody did a good job. And the people in the upper Shoals and deep Shoals communities really came through for us.”
Collection totals were not available for Pinnacle Troop #400.
Caparolie describes the Scouting For Food project as one of three major efforts held early in the year that cumulatively bring in about one-third to one-half of the food to be distributed throughout the year. The two other annual efforts are the holiday Friends Feeding Friends Food Drive, involving area schools, and the Postal Service effort held in early May.
“Over the years,” Caparolie said, “the Scouts have always been faithful to help. This is a big effort and, together, the numbers add up. With the cut-backs we’ve seen in the amount of food available to us, this drive is really important to the community.”
“Hunger is always present here even when it may not be obvious and people may not realize it,” he continued. “The economy in rural America is still hurting and we’re a part of that. The food that is collected stays in our community and we appreciate everyone who gives and who takes part in any way.”
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.
Dean Palmer may be reached at 336-351-4131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.