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As part of their annual Scouting-for-Food service project, Cub Scouts from local Packs 916, 918, and 927 and Boy Scouts from local Troop 916 blanketed many south Evanston streets on the first two Saturdays in March, seeking food donations from neighbors, friends, and local businesses.

On the scouts’ first week of service, buddy teams dropped off food bags and door hangers at neighbors’ homes with requests for contributions of non-perishable goods.

Scouts collected filled bags the following Saturday and delivered them to a local food bank –  Vineyard Christian Church’s Harvest Food Pantry –  in southwest Evanston.  The pantry, which opened its doors in 2005, distributes bagged groceries to families in need, serving more than 250 families weekly.

The Scouting-for-Food project has historically been a successful one, locally, regionally, and nationally.  In the past 10 years, scouts from the Northeast Illinois Council have collected over half a million tons of food for pantries in Northeast Illinois. This year was no exception for these scouts, as they collected more than 250 bags of food, representing about a five to ten-fold increase over last year’s collection. Scoutmaster Karen Jamison noted, “We were very happy with collecting more food this year, and thank the generous neighborhood donors and volunteers for their contributions and participation.”

This project is especially beneficial to food banks at this time of year, when food supplies are dwindling due to increased needs of families during the winter months.  And, according to parents of scouts who participated, their children also benefit positively from such engagement within their community. Cubmaster Alan Sanders added that “service, especially to the local community, is a central tenet of scouting, starting as young as first grade all the way through high school and beyond.”

Boy Scout Troop 916, for boys in grades 6 and above, and Cub Scout Packs 916, 918 and 927, for boys in grades 1-5, serve south Evanston, meeting almost weekly during the school year, primarily at Oakton School and the Pope John School scout room. Families considering joining scouting are welcome to contact alan.sanders.md@gmail.com.