Local scouts drive in food

Published 6:42 am Monday, March 29, 2010

Area boys and girls scouted up more than 4,500 pounds of food this weekend for a long-running food drive in Austin.

“It’s nice to go out and help the community,” said Nate Kruger, a scout with Troop 113.

Kruger, 13, and other area scouts volunteered to drive the streets of Austin with scout leaders to collect food and then bring it back and weigh it at the Salvation Army.

More than 160 boy scouts, girl scouts and volunteers participated in Scout for Food, raising 4,697.7 pounds. They raised between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds of food last year.

Hormel Foods Corp. donated 1,758 pounds of Spam for the fundraiser.

There are 52 routes around the community, and crews drove each map to pick up bags of food left outside of homes with a flier attached. Crews started around 10 a.m. and were finished picking up all the food by around noon.

“It’s good to get everybody out to help out,” said Josh Peterson, an adult leader with the Boy Scouts.

This month, the Salvation Army is participating in March Food Share Month, and the scouts typically do the Scout for Food drive in March.

“It is just a really cool thing,” said Lori Blanton, a case worker at the Salvation Army.

“They’re doing their duty through town, and we’re benefiting by receiving the food for people who need it,” she added.

All the food and donations collected by the Salvation Army Food Shelf in March are tracked. The food shelf receives grants from Minnesota Food Share based on how much is raised.

“A lot of times, food shelves are really hurting about this time of year because of Christmas,” she said. “We’re a really blessed community. I wouldn’t say we’re hurting. We’re starting to get down. So this is just a good thing to help everything get back up again.”

Additional volunteers worked this year to sort the food as it comes in before it’s stored at the Salvation Army.

Although it was cloudy, 15-year-old Michael Hanson, of Troop 113, said the weather cooperated compared to other years. He said they picked up food through heavy rains a few years ago.

This isn’t the only project where scouts give back to the community. Michael said they do highway cleanup, and he said they’ve volunteered to serve food at the Salvation Army before.