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Scouting for Food

Date: Saturday, February 9, 2019
Time: All Day
Location: 1617 South Zero St. Fort Smith, AR

Boy Scouts to Collect Food for People in Need with “Scouting for Food” drive Saturday, Feb. 9

Citizens across the River Valley can join youngsters in doing a good turn with the Westark Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Scouting for Food drive Saturday, February 9.

Boy Scout troop members and also co-ed Venture Crew troop members, ages 5 to 21, will be picking up food bags at homes Saturday morning that were left at doorsteps on February 2 in eight River Valley counties.

“They drop off the empty bags, and then love to come back and find them at curbside or front porches filled with canned or boxed food that goes to people in need,” Christian Swaim, assistant Scout executive for the council, says. The Westark Area Council has a membership of 5,400 Scouts in 194 troops in 17 counties in the River Valley and Northwest Arkansas.

“Our Scouts like doing this Good Turn project,” Swaim says. “Collecting all the food, they can see the impact that they and our region’s citizens make together in the fight against hunger.”

Citizens wishing to participate but who did not receive a bag may pitch in at any Harps or Price Cutter food stores on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Boy Scouts will be in uniform at the stores, welcoming shoppers.

The River Valley Regional Food Bank is one of many recipients of the food collection.

“We open our warehouse doors and greet troops and help them weigh the food to see their results,” Tracy Engel, director of the food bank, says. “The food they collect is always greatly appreciated by our food pantry partners, because it’s good, canned food that can last a long time and is nutritious for families. We are always in need of more canned food for our pantry partners, so this food drive is very important.”

Helping the food bank greet troops from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday will be teen members of a co-ed Boy Scouts of America group, Venturing Crew #1111 of Fort Smith.

“Each year we help greet at least 10 troops at the Food Bank, and it results in more than 3,000 pounds of food donated through the food bank to food pantries,” Rick Hammerle, Venturing Crew #111 advisor, says.

More than 180 food pantries, senior citizen centers, soup kitchens and youth programs in eight counties are members of the River Valley Regional Food Bank.

“Many troops will give their collection directly to one of our food pantry partners,” Engel says. “The food brought to the Food Bank will go out starting Monday to our pantry partners to help people in need. In our region, one in six people lack access to enough food, and the churches and other nonprofit organizations we work with do a wonderful job helping them.”

For more information, contact the Westark Area Council, Boy Scouts of America at 479-782-7244, or the River Valley Regional Food Bank at 479-785-0582. The Food Bank is located at 1617 South Zero St. in Fort Smith.