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Scouts on the Job Fighting Hunger in Utah

This week's Scouting for Food drive is looking for non-perishable donations, including peanut butter, canned beans, boxed meals, and canned fruits and vegetables. (Pixabay)
This week's Scouting for Food drive is looking for non-perishable donations, including peanut butter, canned beans, boxed meals, and canned fruits and vegetables. (Pixabay)
March 13, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY – Shelves in food banks across Utah are getting pretty thin after the holiday rush, and the Boy Scouts of America are on the job.

This week marks the 32nd annual Scouting for Food campaign, where some 180,000 scouts, troop leaders and parents will be going door-to-door across the state to collect canned goods and other non-perishable items.

Ginette Bott, chief development officer for the Utah Food Bank, says many donations come directly from home pantries, which gives local food banks a lot of variety.

"But it also gives other families what your family enjoys," she says. "Mac-and-cheese, believe it or not, is the number one item that kids request at pantries. So, anything that your child would enjoy, another child would as well."

Bott says parents should also consider taking their kids to the grocery store and letting them do the shopping, picking out items that they would want for a family that's struggling. Utah residents are encouraged to fill any bag or box with food items and leave it on the doorstep by 9 A.M. this Saturday, March 17, when scouts will pick up donations.

Since 1997 alone, the campaign has collected the equivalent of more than 18 million meals, and the scouts are hoping to hit the 20 million mark this year. She says that goal could be reached if every Utah household contributed two cans of food.

Bott notes that over 390,000 people in Utah are at risk of missing a meal, and one in six of them are children.

"We don't know by looking at an individual or a family what their circumstances truly are," she adds. "And the thing that's really sad is the kids in these families. The families are trying to do the best they can; if they lose a job or lose those dollars, the kids are hungry as well."

Most-needed food items include beef stew, chili, peanut butter, boxed meals, and canned fruits and vegetables. The donations will be delivered to the Utah Food Bank, regional food banks, and emergency food pantries statewide.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - UT