“Scouting for Food,” Ensign, Feb. 1989, 78
Nearly twenty million Americans, including four million children, go hungry at some point every month, reports national U.S. Scouting literature.
To help alleviate the problem, the Boy Scouts of America launched the Scouting for Food Good Turn project nationwide. On November 19, councils in every state held drives to collect food for the needy.
The results provided enough food to supply service organizations for months. Even the smaller councils had impressive turnouts. In the Two Rivers Council in Illinois, for example, 3,600 Scouts collected 71,250 nonperishable food items.
In large metropolitan areas, contributions approached staggering proportions. The Los Angeles Area Council had about 30,000 Scouts participate, with thirteen independent trucking lines donating transportation. They collected about two hundred tons of food. The Scouts of the Greater Los Angeles Basin gathered nearly nine hundred tons.
The National Capital Area Council drive was one of the most successful. The approximately 25,000 Scouts were assisted by the National Guard, which provided transportation, and Giant Foods, Inc., which provided bags, literature, additional transportation, and their facilities as collection points. The effort covered Washington, D.C., and seventeen counties in Maryland and Virginia.
One unit, Troop 242, sponsored by the Potomac South Ward, Washington DC Stake, is an example of the kind of effort the Scouts gave. The 35 Scouts in the ward passed out fliers explaining the program, telephoned to follow up, and collected food for three weeks. Scoutmaster Richard Hunter said that, though no exact count could be taken, the boys “filled four station wagons to the limit.” With efforts like this, more than 811,000 pounds of food were collected throughout the council.
The Great Salt Lake Council also had a successful drive. By the end of the day, the 7,631 Scouts and 2,599 leaders in 861 troops had collected 406,504 items of food—more than four hundred tons—for the needy in the community. In one district alone, 392 boys collected 35,621 items. The food was desperately needed because many of the food banks in the area had depleted their reserves.
Several organizations in the community also pitched in. Utah Power & Light donated bags and boxes for the project, and the National Guard provided the trucks. Volunteers from the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center helped load and unload the food. The Church shared warehouse space in Salt Lake City for storage and pledged several thousand pounds of dried milk. Member contributions had made the donation of milk possible.
One Scout, Orvill S. Paller, senior patrol leader of Troop 83, Ensign Peak District, and a member of the Center Ward, Salt Lake Rose Park Stake, sums up the feelings that day. He had earlier asked his Scout leaders to let his troop participate. “We felt we should be thankful this time of year and help our neighbors who may not have what we have. We ended up collecting a lot, but even if we hadn’t, it was important just to participate. I felt good collecting the food because I knew that some people who didn’t have anything to eat would now have something.”